The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Missouri State highlighted $150 million in grants available through the Community Facilities Program to help rural communities continue their recovery from the devastating effects of natural disasters such as the recent severe storms, tornadoes and flooding in Missouri; including Linn, Chariton, Livingston and Macon counties. According to a press release from the USDA, the $150 million is included in the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act that President Donald Trump signed into law on June 6. “The grants may be used for relief in areas affected by Hurricanes Michael and Florence; wildfires in 2018; and other natural disasters where the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has provided a notice declaring a Major Disaster Declaration and assigned a FEMA disaster recovery (DR) number,” the press release stated.

Currently, Missouri has 70 counties included in declarations: Adair, Andrew, Atchison, Barry, Barton, Bates, Bollinger, Buchanan, Caldwell, Camden, Cape Girardeau, Carroll, Cedar, Chariton, Clark, Cole, Dade, Dallas, Daviess, Douglas, Gentry, Grundy, Harrison, Henry, Hickory, Holt, Howell, Jackson, Jasper, Knox, Laclede, Lewis, Linn, Livingston, Macon, Maries, Marion, McDonald, Mercer, Miller, Mississippi, Monroe, Montgomery, New Madrid, Newton, Nodaway, Ozark, Pemiscot, Perry, Pike, Platte, Putnam, Ralls, Randolph, Ray, Saline, Schuyler, Scotland, Scott, Shannon, Shelby, Ste. Genevieve, Stoddard, Sullivan, Taney, Texas, Vernon, Wayne, Webster and Wright.

Grant applications will be accepted at a local USDA Rural Development office on a continual basis until funds are exhausted. There are 25 USDA offices across the state including the offices in Chillicothe and St. Joseph. Grant assistance will be provided on a graduated scale; smaller communities with the lowest median household income are eligible for a higher proportion of grant funds.

More than 100 types of projects are eligible for Community Facilities funding. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations and federally recognized Native American tribes. Projects must be in eligible rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less.

According to the press release, the USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas.