Community

$73,897 grant will help 26 low-income homeowners make needed repairs

The Opportunity Council in Bellingham has been awarded a federal grant of $73,897 to provide repairs for needed health, safety, and durability issues for up to 26 low-income homeowners in rural areas of Island, San Juan and Whatcom counties.

All told, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is awarded $9.8 million in grants to repair rural homes and make energy efficiency improvements in 48 states. The funds are being awarded through the USDA Rural Development Housing Preservation Grant program.

"These grants will help rural residents and rental property owners repair leaking roofs, plumbing or crumbling foundations, as well as add insulation, caulking and energy-saving windows and doors," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a press release.

Housing preservation grants ensure that rural single and multi-family housing stocks are adequate, meet current safety standards and are accessible by individuals with disabilities. Grants are awarded to non-profit organizations, local governments and tribal governments, who in turn provide loans, grants or loan and grant combinations to eligible applicants.

Funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions of the grant agreement.

USDA Rural Development's mission is to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural residents. Rural Development fosters growth in homeownership, finances business development and supports the creation of critical community and technology infrastructure. Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting

www.rurdev.usda.gov

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