Author: Aspen Hill Staff Published: 1/13/2021 Aspen Institute
The passage of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) provides new and expanded opportunities for rural America, and more federal legislation is forthcoming. On this webpage, Aspen CSG is collecting links and resources explaining federal opportunities for rural people and places. We are trying to be as rural-specific as possible with these resources, but some collect rural information alongside urban and suburban-relevant information. The understanding of how this bill will affect rural America is evolving, so check back regularly for more information.
Learn about RPP: Within the Congressional budget reconciliation package – which is in active negotiation right now – a proposed Rural Partnership Program (RPP) would make flexible funding available across the country to regional and local collaboratives. RPP represents a new approach for how federal resources can support rural America.
Events | Federal Resources | Tools | News and Analysis
Timely Events and Notices
January 18-20: USDA ReConnect Application Workshop on applying for ReConnect funds. Register here.
January 25: National Environmental Justice Community Engagement Call, hosted by the EPA. Participation in the call will be on a first-come first-serve basis – register here.
January 26-27: White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council Public Meeting. Register here and learn more about WHEJAC here.
February 6-9: 2022 AHA Rural Health Care Leadership Conference. Learn more and register here.
February 8-10: USDA ReConnect Application Workshop on applying for ReConnect funds. Register here.
February 17-18: Save the Date for Bridges: Building Resilience: Regional Readiness for Investment & Growth in the South conference. Hosted by the Southern Crescent Regional Commission Coalition and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Register here.
April 4-7: Appalachian Regional Commission Outdoor Economy Conference. Get tickets here.
May 20 – 21: Save the Date for the Regards to Rural Conference. Hosted by Rural Development Initiatives.
Find past workshop recordings at the USDA Rural Development YouTube Channel.
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Federal Agencies Resources
Administration for Children and Families (ACF)
Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)
Department of Commerce (DOC)
- NEW: DOC’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is seeking public comments on issues related to rural areas and rural minority business enterprises. Deadline: January 25, 2022. Provide comments here.
- DOC’s Good Jobs Challenge is making funding available for projects that will strengthen regional workforce training systems to help workers find quality jobs. Deadline: February 10, 2022. Apply here.
Department of Energy (DOE)
- NEW: DOE offers free technical assistance for advancing Tribal energy projects to federally-recognized Indian Tribes and Tribal entities. Request assistance here.
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
- NEW: HUD is providing waivers and flexibilities from the requirements for Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG), Indian Community Development Block Grant (ICDBG), and Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant (NHHBG) grantees located in areas that are covered by Presidentially Declared Disasters (PDDs). Learn more here.
- NEW: HUD has prepared a guide on CDBG-CV Rural Coronavirus Response. It describes and provides examples of how Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and Community Development Block Grant CARES Act (CDBG-CV) funds can be used for eligible activities to support issues facing rural areas. View here.
- HUD’s Eviction Protection Grant Program can support experienced legal service providers in providing free legal assistance to low-income tenants who are at risk of eviction. View here.
Department of Labor
- NEW: YouthBuild, a community-based alternative education program for youth, is supporting organizations with pre-apprenticeship programs focusing on education, occupational skills training, leadership development, and high-quality post-program placement opportunities to opportunity youth. Deadline: January 21, 2022. View here.
Economic Development Administration (EDA)
- NEW: EDA is providing funding to help Indigenous communities recover economically from the pandemic through their Indigenous Communities Program. Deadline: September 30, 2022. Apply here.
- EDA’s ARP Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation grant will fund infrastructure and non-infrastructure projects to help local tourism industries recover from the pandemic. Deadline: January 31, 2022. Apply here.
- EDA has made a Coal Communities Commitment to allocate $200 million in Economic Adjustment Assistance grants (Deadline: March 31, 2022) to coal communities. Learn more here.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- NEW: EPA Enhanced Air Quality Monitoring for Communities Grant supports local efforts to monitor air quality. Approximately $2 million each has been set aside for tribal governments and community-based organizations. Deadline: February 25, 2022. Learn more here.
- EPA will be providing $50 million in ARP funding available to improve ambient air quality monitoring for communities across the United States. Stay tuned here for updates as they announce more details in Fall 2021. Learn more here.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
- FCC’s Emergency Broadband Benefit program provides discounts for broadband service and specific technology purchases for eligible households. Apply here.
Federal Transit Administration (FTA)
Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
- NEW: HRSA’s Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP) is providing funding to strengthen and expand the prevention, treatment, and recovery services for substance use disorder and opioid use disorder. Deadline: January 13, 2022. Apply here.
Indian Health Service (IHS)
- NEW: IHS Tribal Self-Governance Planning Cooperative Agreement Program supports Tribes in tailoring their health care programs to their needs. Deadline: February 10, 2022. Learn more here.
Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)
- NEW: IMLS Native American Library Services Basic Grants Program is assisting Native American tribes in improving core library services for their communities. Deadline: March 1, 2022. Learn more here.
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
National Park Service (NPS)
- NEW: NPS Tribal Heritage grants are providing funding to assist Indian Tribes, Alaskan Native Villages/Corporations, and Native Hawaiian Organizations in protecting and promoting their unique cultural heritage and traditions. Learn more here.
United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development (USDA RD)
- Useful Link: USDA RD’s full list of grant and loan programs- from broadband to business development to water infrastructure- can be found by clicking this link.
- New: USDA RD Seeks Applications to Advance Equity and Expand Regional Economies in Distressed Rural Communities. The Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE) grant program encourages a regional, innovation-driven approach to economic development by funding job accelerator partnerships in low-income rural communities. This includes communities that have been historically underserved, marginalized and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality. Deadline: April 19, 2022. Learn more and apply here.
- NEW: USDA RD Non-Profit Transfer Technical Assistance Grant is accepting applications from qualified nonprofits (NP) and public housing authorities (PHA) to assist Multi-Family Housing borrowers and applicants. Deadline: February 8, 2022. Apply here.
- NEW: USDA RD is implementing a common application – the OneRD Guarantee Loan Initiative – for four of their key programs: the Water and Waste Disposal Loan Guarantee Program; the Community Facilities Guaranteed Loan Program; the Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan Program; and the Rural Energy for America Guaranteed Loan Program. Learn more here.
- NEW: USDA RD Business & Industry Loan Guarantees program gives lenders loan guarantees for their loans to rural businesses. Applications are accepted year-round. Learn more here.
- NEW: USDA RD Seeks Applications for Rural Energy for America Program. Funds are being made available under the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). USDA is seeking applications for Fiscal Year 2022 funding. The deadline is March 31, 2022. Applications for technical assistance grants are due Jan. 31, 2022. Applications for loan guarantees are accepted year-round.
- NEW: USDA RD Rural Utilities Service (RUS) is now accepting applications for fiscal year 2022 for the ReConnect Program, which is providing $1.15 billion in funding to help people in rural areas get access to high-speed internet. Application deadline: Feb. 22, 2022.
- NEW: USDA RD recently announced that they are seeking applications to support rural communities in regional economic and community development planning through the Strategic Economic and Community Development (SECD) initiative. This program includes several different types of grants in FY2022, including funding for community facilities, water, and wastewater disposal. Apply here.
- USDA RD‘s Electric Infrastructure Loan Program is offering insured loans to finance the construction of electric distribution facilities in rural areas. Deadline: Ongoing. Apply here.
- USDA RD created a guide on how rural communities can leverage USDA resources to build a stronger workforce. View here.
- USDA RD unveiled a resource guide in both English and Spanish as part of National Preparedness Month to help rural communities seeking disaster resiliency and recovery assistance.
- USDA RD Stakeholder Announcement to Prioritize Investments That Address Top Challenges in Rural Communities. Read it here.
- USDA RD‘s telecommunications infrastructure program is providing financing for the construction, maintenance, improvement and expansion of telephone service and broadband in rural areas. Deadline: Ongoing. Apply here.
- USDA RD Community Facilities Direct Loan & Grant Program provides affordable funding to develop essential community facilities in rural areas. Examples of community facilities include hospitals, courthouses, child care centers, museums, food pantries, and more. Deadline: ongoing. Apply here.
- USDA RD Emergency Rural Health Care Grants are providing up to $500 million in grant funding to help broaden access to COVID-19 testing and vaccines, rural health care services, and food assistance through food banks and food distribution facilities. Deadline: until funds are expended. Learn more and apply here.
- USDA RD recently announced that it is seeking applications to implement projects supported by regional economic and community development planning to help the people of rural America build back better. Read the news release.
- USDA RD Rural Business Development Grants provide technical assistance and training for small rural businesses; rural public entities are eligible to apply. Deadline: February 28, 2022. Learn more here.
- USDA RD’s Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, and Biobased Products Manufacturing Assistance Program is providing loan guarantees to assist with the implementation of the following new technologies: advanced biofuels, renewable chemicals and biobased products. Deadline: April 1, 2022. Learn more and apply here.
- USDA RD developed a resource guide for rural communities to develop their recreation economy. View the guide here.
- USDA RD released a new resource guide to help rural community leaders start and expand employment opportunities and access resources to train, recruit and create a sustainable rural workforce. View and download the guide here.
- USDA RD Water & Waste Disposal Grants can help reduce health risks caused by a lack of access to clean, affordable water and waste disposal on Tribes and Colonias. Deadline: Rolling. Apply here.
- USDA RD Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program supports Microenterprise Development Organizations (MDOs) with training, technical assistance, loans, and grants. Apply here.
- USDA RD is providing grant funding for rural small businesses and agricultural producers to make energy efficiency improvements and install renewable energy systems. Deadline: March 31, 2022. View here.
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Other
- NEW: USDA Federally Recognized Tribes Extension Program aims to establish an Extension presence and support Extension outreach on Federally Recognized Indian Reservations and Tribal jurisdictions of Federally-Recognized Tribes. Deadline: February 25, 2022. Apply here.
- NEW: USDA Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations Nutrition Education Grant provides funding for nutrition education activities through the annual appropriations bill. Deadline: March 1, 2022. Learn more here.
- NEW: USDA Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program offers guaranteed loans for qualified lenders to finance food systems projects. Learn more here.
- NEW: USDA‘s new Biofuel Producer Program contains $800 million to support biofuel producers and infrastructure. Read the news release here.
- NEW: USDA Local Food Purchase Assistance Program (LFPA) builds non-competitive cooperative agreements with state and tribal governments and awards money for purchasing food from historically underserved farmers and ranchers. Deadline: April 5, 2022. Learn more here.
- NEW: USDA Farm and Food Worker Relief Grant Program provides grants to State agencies, Tribal entities, and nonprofit organizations for supporting farmworkers and meatpacking workers. Deadline: February 8, 2022. Apply here.
- NEW: USDA Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) program provides USDA Foods to income-eligible households living on Indian reservations, and to American Indian households residing in approved areas near reservations or in Oklahoma. Many households use the FDPIR program as an alternate to SNAP, which may be not be accessible. Learn more here.
- NEW: USDA’s Farm to School Grant Program are supporting support the planning, development, and implementation of farm to school programs. Deadline: January 10, 2022. Apply here.
- NEW: USDA is accepting applications for two scholars programs that aim to increase the number of minorities studying agriculture, food, natural resource sciences, and the related disciplines – the 1890 National Scholars Program (Deadline: January 31, 2022) and 1994 Tribal Land-Grant Colleges and Universities Program (Deadline: February 15, 2022).
- NEW: USDA will be providing $7.5 million in The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) grant awards to 29 states and territories in FY2022. Learn more about the grant program here.
- USDA Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) Programs are providing zero-interest loans and grants to help local businesses create and retain jobs. Deadline: March 31, 2022 and June 30, 2022. Find more details here.
- ACF and USDA joint resource guide to strengthen and expand child care facilities in rural communities. Read it here.
- USDA recently released a new economic research report: Impact of USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) on Rural and Urban Economies in the Aftermath of the Great Recession. Read the report.
- USDA released a new Action Plan for Climate Adaptation and Resilience that outlines USDA’s plans to mitigate climate change and reduce climate impacts. Read it here.
- USDA Announces Additional Aid for the Pandemic Assistance for Producers Initiative. Read the announcement here.
- Official USDA website explaining ARP and funding that USDA will implement. Breaks it into four large sections: nutrition assistance, supporting farmers and strengthening food supply, ensuring equity for farmers of color, and strengthening infrastructure, housing and health care in rural America. American Rescue Plan
- USDA Article Rural Poverty Has Distinct Regional and Racial Patterns. Read the article here.
- USDA ERS recently updated their research on rural poverty and well-being. View the research here.
US Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
Resources from Non-Federal Organizations
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Tools for Rural Communities
NEW: White House Build Back Better Rural Fact Sheet: How the Build Back Better Framework Helps Rural Communities.
NEW: IRS has created a series of helpful videos that explain how the Child Tax Credit works and what steps people should take to receive advance CTC payments. Learn about the Child Tax Credit.
USDA Office of National Drug Control Policy Federal Resources for Rural Communities to Help Address Substance Use Disorder and Opioid Misuse. Community Toolbox document gathers dozens of federal resources in one place. See the Toolbox.
USDA ERS state fact sheets and county-level data sets were recently updated with the decennial census population data for 2020. View state fact sheets. View county data.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau can help renters and landlords pay rent, cover utilities, and make up for a loss in rental income. Find your local program and housing assistance here.
White House Fact Sheet on what steps the Biden administration is taking through the ARP to improve the health of rural communities. Read it here.
US Senate has released a title by title summary of ARP spending, based on the Act passed by the Senate on March 3. Title by Title Summary.
USDA Fact sheet on ARP. FACT SHEET: United States Department of Agriculture Provisions in H.R. 1319, the American Rescue Plan
US Treasury Breakdown of ARP Assistance to Families FACT SHEET: The American Rescue Plan Will Deliver Immediate Economic Relief to Families | US Department of the Treasury
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News and Analysis on Federal Policy
For each resource, if there is rural-specific information, we note it in red.
AGree’s Climate, Food, and Ag Dialogue (CFAD) has released policy recommendations through which the USDA can encourage adoption of agricultural conservation practices and promote resiliency. CFAD’s Policy Recommendations
Center of Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) provides an analysis of ARP looking specifically at Food Systems. Food Assistance in American Rescue Plan Act Will Reduce Hardship, Provide Economic Stimulus
AG Web Editorial: Agricultural and Rural Provisions of the American Rescue Plan of 2021
Brookings analysis on what the Senate did and did not do in their $1 trillion Infrastructure Bill’s to expand broadband access. The Senate infrastructure bill’s four interconnected broadband components
American Library Association brief on broadband opportunities within the ARP. Includes rural specific information. Broadband Funding Opportunities in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 Robert Bocher
Daily Yonder analysis of Biden’s budget proposal for rural and its relation to previous legislation (ARP). Biden’s First Budget Proposal Recognizes Some Rural Needs
CLASP brief provides state agencies with recommendations for how they can use ARP child care relief funds to best meet the needs of immigrant families and providers. Supporting Immigrant Providers and Families
Through Child Care Relief Funds
Fact-sheet on using ARP dollars for child care centers. How States Can Improve Child Care Facilities & Physical Spaces Using Federal Relief Dollars
Daily Yonder What the American Rescue Plan Means for Child Poverty in Rural America
Broadband USA’s Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program has released multiple webinars and resources explaining their grant opportunities. Watch the webinars here.
Partners for Rural Transformation policy brief shows how Congress’s system to disburse federal housing & community development funds is unfair: Equity in Federal Housing and Community Development Funding: A Proposal for a National Floor
LISC Federal Policy + Community Development: Experts Look at Ways to Fuel a Transformative Recovery
National Community Action Partnership: A fact-sheet produced by NCAP on benefits from ARP. New American Rescue Plan Benefits for Families
Inside Higher Education: Editorial on funding for colleges as part of the American Rescue plan.
The Education Trust provides analysis of ARP’s impact on education issues specifically looking at issues of equity. Not rural specific in program analysis. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 – What’s in It for Equity
Brookings report on ARP specifically looking at education. No specific rural breakout. Building back better: The promise of the American Rescue Plan for education
PolicyLink 10 Priorities for Advancing Racial Equity Through the American Rescue Plan: A Guide for City and County Policymakers
Brookings report focusing on issues of structural racism and how the ARP may address them. Connects to rural areas by funding program analysis. Will the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan address structural inequality?
Civil Eats Editorial Op-ed: $4 Billion in Debt Relief Is a Start, but the Fight is Not Over for Black Farmers
Nonprofit Quarterly article by Andrew Crosson: Countering Rural Disinvestment: Appalachia’s Ecosystem-Based Approach
The Center for Sustainable Infrastructure and CleanTech Alliance spoke with supply chain innovators about tackling not only pollution from their direct operations but from the bigger, broader challenge of their global supply chains. Watch the recording here: Cleaning the Chain Workshop.
World Resources Institute Report on the Economic Benefits of the New Climate Economy in Rural America. Read it here.
Western Governor’s Association Chair and Idaho Governor Brad Little launched WGA’s Working Lands, Working Communities Initiative. Watch the Launch Webinar.
California Coalition for Rural Housing has put together a Practitioner’s Guidebook on Affordable Housing and Natural Disasters.
National Community Action Partnership breakdown of new ARP benefits for families. New American Rescue Plan Benefits for Families.
National League of Cities has published great resources explaining the key details of the ARP. About ARPA. | Top FAQs regarding ARPA. | Local allocations by Metro City.
US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs testimony by Lisa Mensah on how CDFIs can collaborate with the federal government to fund public infrastructure and rural and tribal housing. Testimony of Lisa Mensah
Brookings report discusses the importance of creating a national rural strategy and intentionally designing federal legislative actions to meet the unique needs of rural communities. Will Biden deliver for rural America? The promise of the American Rescue Plan
National Council of Nonprofits analysis of ARP and its impact on nonprofit organizations and they people nonprofits serve. More of a General Resource. The American Rescue Plan Act | National Council of Nonprofits
KTTC Secretary of Agriculture breaks down the American Rescue Plan for rural communities
Vermont Biz: Matt Dunne: What does the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 mean for rural America?
Daily Yonder Editorial Commentary: Biden’s American Rescue Plan Keeps Promise to Rural America
National League of Cities has created an extensive, searchable summary of provisions relevant to municipalities and local leaders in this historic legislation. American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 Summary of Provisions. They have also created a searchable list of estimated appropriations by municipality. Estimated Local Allocations.
National Council of State Legislatures (NCSL) breakdown of ARP funding for state and local governments. Breaks out funding by issue area but not by rural separately. American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ncsl.org)
Brookings report focusing on how local leaders should use their ARP funding utilizing the goals of stability, immediate impact, inclusivity, future prosperity, how ARP can complement efforts already underway and how to organize through Regional Recovery Councils. How should local leaders use their American Rescue Plan funding?
Center for American Progress provides summaries of ARP and specific state breakdowns for: New Hampshire, Nevada, Maine, Georgia, Arizona, Iowa, West Virginia, Ohio, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. Also provides analysis around issue areas and for state and local governments. American Rescue Plan
NACO American Rescue Plan Helps America’s Rural Counties
Rural Assembly has put together a collection of COVID-19 vaccine resources for rural communities. Find the resources here.
American Hospital Association (AHA) analysis of the ARP. Includes specific information on rural hospitals and health care related to COVID pandemic. Summary of American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and Provisions Affecting Hospitals and Health Systems | AHA
National Law Review provides analysis on healthcare provisions in ARP, including for rural America. Healthcare Provisions of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021
Indian Country Today breakdown of the different funding streams that Indian Country could access through the ARP. Tribal leaders, experts talk American Rescue Plan’s impact
Indian Country Today website has a breakdown of ARP programs for Tribal and Native Nations perspectives. Chair Grijalva hails passage of American Recovery Plan
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) analysis of EITC and Child Tax Credit for rural America. Rescue Plan’s Expansions of Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit Will Benefit Rural Residents.
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