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Johnson County to benefit from USDA $86 Million Rural Investment

By Tamas Mondovics

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced that the department is investing $86 million to improve equitable access to jobs, business opportunities, education, housing, and health care for people living and working in rural areas. 
In a press release, the department emphasized that the investments are part of the current Administration’s commitment to ensure that people living in rural communities have equitable access to the infrastructure and opportunities often taken for granted by people living in urban and suburban areas.
“Regardless of where they live, their race, ethnicity or gender, or the size of the town in which they live, all people must have access to decent housing, clean water, and good job opportunities,” Vilsack said. “This is foundational to a healthy society and stable communities. Today’s announcements build on the historic investments made possible by the American Rescue Plan Act signed into law by President Biden to ensure equity during a time when people living in underserved places are suffering the most. These investments will go a long way toward helping America ‘Build Back Better’ toward a just and more equitable society.”
Vilsack highlighted 218
investments that USDA is making in six programs
specifically designed to help people and businesses in rural areas. These programs include Tribal College Initiative Grants, Rural Community Development Initiative Grants, Housing Preservation Grants, Delta Health Care Grants, Socially Disadvantaged Groups Grants, and Water and Waste Disposal Grants.
 The funding will reportedly help more than 425,000
people in 46 states, Puerto Rico, and the Western
Pacific. It is promising to help low-income people make health and safety repairs
to their homes. It will help build and improve water and wastewater infrastructure for people living in U.S. communities along the Mexico border.  
Among the beneficiaries is Johnson County, as the Appalachia Service Project Inc. receives a $180,000 Housing Preservation Grant to help 24 qualified, very-low, and low-income homeowners make needed repairs or improvements to their existing homes. The funds will also assist residents and homeowners in Carter, Cocke, Greene, Hancock, Hawkins, Sullivan, Unicoi, and Washington Counties. 
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