Federal Resources for Rural America

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.

Indigenous youth on the steps of the Capitol

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.

Click to Visit the Proposed RPP Info Page

Events | Federal Resources | Tools | News and Analysis

Timely Events and Notices

  • November 30 – December 3: The Housing Assistance Council 2021 National Rural Housing Conference. Register Here.
  • December 8: EPA is holding office hours to help stakeholders use EJSCREEN, the Agency’s environmental justice screening and mapping tool. Join here.
  • December 8: USDA RD is providing live, virtual training to explain how you can partner with the agency to offer a low risk home financing option with a Single-Close Construction loan. Register here.
  • December 8 & 15: Two USDA ReConnect Program Webinars for FY2022. Register for either session at this website.
  • December 14: Urban Institute Re-envisioning Rural America: Supporting Asset-Based Rural Investment and Capacity-Building. Register Here
  • December 15: RDI Community Conversations: “Getting Dollars to Rural: Strategies for Funding Rural Priorities”. Register Here.

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: Department of Commerce Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program is directing $268 million to expand broadband access for HBCUs and Tribal Colleges or Universities (TCUs). Deadline: December 1, 2021. Apply here.
  • Department of Commerce’s Good Jobs Challenge is making funding available for projects that will strengthen regional workforce training systems to help workers find quality jobs. Deadline: January 26, 2022. Apply here.
Department of Energy (DOE)
  • NEW: DOE Communities LEAP (Local Energy Action Program) Pilot supports low-income, energy-burdened communities to help reduce the economic impacts of clean energy transitions. Deadline: December 15, 2021. Learn more.
  • 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 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.
  • HUD Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) is a competitive grant program to fund affordable housing activities on Indian reservations and other Indian areas. Deadline: December 1, 2021. View this opportunity 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’s Multipurpose, Assessment, RLF, and Cleanup (MARC) Grants are offered by the Brownfields Program to address sites contaminated by hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants. Deadline: December 1, 2021. 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.
  • NEW: HRSA’s Rural Veterans Health Access Program is offering states funding to invest in increasing access to health care services and increasing coordination of care for veterans living in rural areas. Deadline: December 10, 2021. Learn more 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.
National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)
  • NEW: NIFA Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program (CFPCGP) provides funding to create community-based food projects and improve community food security. Deadline: December 20, 2021. Apply here.
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
National Park Service (NPS)
  • NEW: NPS Historic Preservation Fund – Save America’s Treasures Collection Grants Department of the Interior. Deadline: December 14, 2021. Apply here.
  • 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.
Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE)
  • NEW: OPE’s Rural Postsecondary and Economic Development RPED) Grant Program is offering funding to public and private nonprofit institutions of higher education (IHEs) that have enrollment of at least 30 percent of students who attended high schools located in rural areas. Deadline: December 6, 2021. Apply here.
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • 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 deadlines to apply for grants are Oct. 31, 2021, and 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 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: January 31, 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.
  • NEW: USDA 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.
  • NEW: 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.
  • NEW: USDA RD created a guide on how rural communities can leverage USDA resources to build a stronger workforce. View here.
  • NEW: USDA 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.
  • NEW: USDA Stakeholder Announcement to Prioritize Investments That Address Top Challenges in Rural Communities. Read it here.
  • NEW: 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.
  • NEW: USDA RD will begin accepting applications for their ReConnect (Rural eConnectivity) Program on November 21. The ReConnect Program provides loans, grants, and loan/grant combinations to facilitate broadband deployment in rural areas. Deadline: February 22, 2022. View the funding announcement.
  • NEW: 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.
  • NEW: USDA 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.
  • NEW: USDA 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.
  • NEW: USDA Healthy Food Financing Initiative is making available at least $4 million through grants for innovative fresh food retail and food system enterprises that aim to improve access to healthy food in underserved areas. Deadline for Letter of Interest (LOI): December 7, 2021. Apply here.
  • USDA is launching a loan guarantee initiative that will leverage $100 million for expanding meat and poultry processing capacity and finance other food supply chain infrastructure. 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 Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) Programs are providing zero-interest loans and grants to help local businesses create and retain jobs. Deadline: December 31, 2021; 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 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 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 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 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 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 ERS recently updated their research on rural poverty and well-being. View the research here.
  • USDA 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.
US Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
US Treasury
White House
Resources from Non-Federal Organizations
  • NEW: Enterprise Community Partners has an open call for Section 4 Capacity Building grant funding to support Community Development Corporations (CDCs) and Community Housing Development Organizations (CHDOs). Deadline: December 10, 2021. Learn more.
  • NEW: National Rural Housing Coalition report on Measuring the Economic and Human Impact of Nonprofit Organizations in Rural America
  • New Profit is accepting applications for their Health Equity Cohort, consisting of eight organizations who will receive $100,000 in unrestricted funding and resources, capacity-building support, and a peer learning community. They are especially seeking to include rural-based social entrepreneurs in their cohort. Apply here.

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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.

AGRICULTURE

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

BROADBAND

NEW: 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

BUDGET

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

CHILDREN

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

COMMUNITY

NEW: 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

EDUCATION

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

EQUITY

NEW: 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

GENERAL

NEW: 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.

NEW: 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

GEOGRAPHY

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

HEALTH

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

NATIVE NATIONS

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

TAXES

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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