Friday, April 18, 2014
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USDA announces relief for West victims

In the aftermath of the tragedy in West, USDA Rural Development is encouraging residents affected by the disaster to apply for housing, community, business and utility funding through several Rural Development programs. Assistance can be offered for rebuilding and reopening businesses and community facilities, as well as rectifying housing situations and rebuilding or repairing damaged homes. Local personnel, both at the site and at local offices, are available to assist with possible funding options for those displaced who have lost homes, businesses and livestock due to the fertilizer plant explosion.

 

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to all who have suffered losses caused by this terrible event," said Rural Development State Director, Paco Valentin. "Members of our staff along with those who live and work alongside the victims are committed to offering assistance to those affected. Rural Development offers programs that may reduce the impact this disaster has had on families, businesses and producers, and we pledge to help those affected get back on their feet."

USDA Rural Development is aware that the disaster could have far-reaching effects and long-term significant impacts on families and communities. We want to ensure that you are aware of the assistance we may be able to provide in the event this tragedy has directly impacted your home or business.

Rural Development is encouraging those affected to immediately apply for funding under rural single family housing loan and grant programs. Funds are available to very low income homeowners for housing repair, rehabilitation, and for the purchase of new and existing homes in eligible areas. For home financing through the guaranteed program, USDA will assist with expediting access to the Guaranteed Underwriting Service, as well as providing streamlined loan processing. In addition, local USDA Rural Development personnel may issue Letters of Priority Funding Entitlement (LOPE) for individuals and families who have been displaced by this event. A LOPE letter entitles the holder to priority placement on the waiting list at any USDA multi-family rental housing property.

Rural Development's Community Facilities Program has many options available to assist communities with public safety, health care and other essential community facilities improvements. Specific to the community of West, funding is available to assist with the purchase of new emergency response vehicles and equipment, and the repair and rebuilding of schools, medical clinics, nursing and assisted living facilities, police and fire stations, public buildings and transportation systems. In addition, funding is available through the Rural Utilities Service program for applicants to repair or construct water transmission/distribution systems, water storage facilities, and wastewater collection systems and/or wastewater treatment facilities.

Businesses in the affected area may be eligible for assistance through Rural Development's Business and Industry program. Applicants or existing borrowers should contact our local office to determine which program is applicable to assist them.

For further information and application assistance, please contact the Hillsboro USDA Rural Development Office at 254-582-7328, ext 4, or the State Office at 254-742-9700. Information on all USDA Rural Development programs can be found at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/tx.