Rural development program invests over $200 million in Nevada’s communities
USDA Rural Development, one of the seven mission areas of the United States Department of Agriculture, has announced it invested more than $209 million in rural Nevada in fiscal year 2013.
Working with private mortgage lenders, USDA has helped 914 families move into their own homes; the business program has assisted 21 small businesses with grants and loans in support of entrepreneurship; and the community program has funded 16 critically needed infrastructure projects for water systems, waste water treatment, emergency response equipment, and essential community facilities.
For the third year in a row, USDA RD’s Housing Program broke its record in terms of investments in homeownership. USDA RD brought 914 families into homeownership with more than $149 million in home loans and guarantees of private sector mortgages for low and moderate income people living in rural parts of the state.
The smaller direct loan program provides low interest loans to low-income people, and the guaranteed home loan program works with private mortgage lenders to provide 100 percent financing for modest income individuals and families seeking to live in rural areas.
Fifty-six seniors benefited from the agency’s home repair program which provided $255,268 in grants to complete home repairs to improve safety and accessibility. In addition, rental assistance for low-income families totaled $6.4 million in Nevada.
Rental assistance is offered to qualified low-income seniors and families living in RD-financed apartment complexes throughout the state.
In FY 13, the Business Program invested $9.6 million statewide, including $8 million for four Guaranteed Business and Industry (B and I) projects statewide, most notably, a recent $5.6 million loan guarantee for Foley Tahoe-Reno (FTR) in Storey County. The guarantee on Heritage Bank’s loan to FTR allowed the company to refinance a debt on a building that houses two manufacturers that together employ 170 people.
The B and I program provides private lenders a guarantee on eligible loans in communities of 50,000 or fewer, which provides lenders an opportunity to assist business and expand their loan portfolios in rural Nevada.
Included in the nearly $10 million in business investment, RD’s Intermediary Relending Program (IRP) in Nevada received a $1 million boost with a loan to Rural Nevada Development Corporation. Headquartered in Ely, the 20-year old nonprofit organization is an approved re-lender, providing loans to small businesses in Nevada’s 15 rural counties, the rural portions of Washoe and Clark counties, as well as Nevada’s 27 Native American tribes.
RNDC has loaned more than $7 million in USDA funds to eligible rural businesses through its loan programs. For more information visit the RNDC website at http://rndcnv.org/lending.html.
USDA RD invested $276,880 in Renewable Energy Loans and Grants in Nevada in FY 2013, including $186,200 in eight Rural Energy for America projects (REAP), and another $90,680 in advanced biofuels payments. REAP helps agricultural producers and small rural businesses increase energy efficiency and reduce carbon in the environment through grants that support energy efficiency improvement for heating and air conditioning systems, or through development of alternative energy systems, such as solar, wind, or micro-hydro systems.
The biofuels program provides payments to support the development and growth of the advanced biofuels industry.
The Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) continues to build a foundation for business growth, with $218,000 invested in six Nevada projects in FY 2013, plus an additional $90,000 from the national office allocation for two tribal projects. All total, three Nevada tribes benefited from $112,800 in RBEG funding for their projects to conduct feasibility studies to develop business enterprise.
This year, USDA RD’s Community Programs invested more than $42 million in critically needed community services. The Community Facility (CF) direct loans provided $18.1 million; the Community Facility guarantee loans provided $2.4 million, Community Facility grants leveraged $171,580 for critically needed projects. The flagship CF project this year was a $16.3 million loan and loan guarantee to Boulder City Hospital in southern Nevada to expand and renovate the critical access hospital.
USDA RD’s Water and Environmental Program invested over $22 million in loans and grants for rural community water and waste water treatment systems that are fundamental to protecting community health and to providing an infrastructure base for future community development. These projects provide for major infrastructure improvements at affordable rates, and create significant numbers of construction jobs, while preparing rural communities for long-term, positive growth.
“Another very important part of our work,” said State Director Sarah Adler, “is the expertise we provide to rural communities and tribes to link them up with other beneficial programs and partners. We support them finding a path forward to a more sustainable future, whether that comes from our programs, our partners’ programs, or their own initiative and good ideas.”
USDA RD staff continues to work side by side with partners in nine counties of western Nevada to implement the Stronger Economies Together (SET) regional economic blueprint developed in FY 2012.
Staff is also active in collaborative work on local and regional food systems, food security, rural tourism, broadband, and developing biomass as a means of restoring the landscape while creating new products and forms of renewable energy.
USDA Rural Development has offices in Carson City, Fallon, Las Vegas and Elko. For more information, visit the USDA RD website at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/NVHome.html