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Nine grantees will collectively receive nearly $1.2 million in grants to improve rural lives by rehabilitating or replacing substandard homes, announced NeighborWorks America, a national non-profit that creates opportunities for people to live in affordable homes, improve their lives and strengthen their communities. In support of the Safe and Sound initiative, Wells Fargo Housing Foundation donated $1 million and is the lead funder of the effort.
Under the Safe and Sound Rural Housing Rehabilitation or Replacement program, 50 rural homes will be rehabbed or replaced in at least five rural regions by Dec. 31 to raise the visibility of rural communities as unique and inviting investment opportunities.
The NeighborWorks America Safe and Sound rural grant participants are:
►Burlington, Vt.: Champlain Housing Trust
►Sisseton, S.D.: GROW South Dakota
►Elizabethtown, N.Y.: Housing Assistance Program of Essex County
►Great Falls, Mont.: NeighborWorks Great Falls
►Roseburg, Ore.: NeighborWorks Umpqua
►Rochester, N.Y.: PathStone Corporation
►Kingston, N.Y.: RUPCO
►Visalia, Calif.: Self-Help Enterprises
►Russellville, Ark.: Universal Housing Development Corporation
“NeighborWorks America is working hard to invest in upgrading homes in rural areas and spotlight the unique challenges of adults in rural parts of the country,” said David Dangler, director of the Rural Initiative at NeighborWorks America. “We are also making rural homes more energy efficient, so fewer people have to make tough choices between food or fuel.”
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 20 percent of people and 5.3 million veterans live in rural regions in the United States.
“Wells Fargo is delighted to team with NeighborWorks America with this commitment to revitalize homes in rural communities,” said Connie Wright, assistant director, Wells Fargo Housing Foundation. “While we are encouraged to see improvement in many housing markets, sustainable and affordable housing continues to be a critical need in communities of all sizes. We understand we can’t solve these challenges on our own and when the public and private sector work together it can add up to make a huge difference for the community.”
This grant announcement comes as a new survey from NeighborWorks America suggests that adults in rural regions of the U.S. are not as satisfied as their counterparts in urban and suburban areas of the country. According to the NeighborWorks study, rural residents generally feel worse about their local economy and job outlook than the national average with just one-third of rural residents rating their economy and job situation as better than the national average. This compares to 48 percent of suburban residents and 57 percent of urban dwellers feeling positive about their local economy and job outlook.
The Safe and Sound rural initiative will help recipient organizations fund the cost of bringing substandard rural homes up to state and federal housing codes through rehabilitation or replacement with Energy Star-rated factory-built units; increase energy efficiency in all targeted homes; and improve air and water quality. Organizations also will have access to NeighborWorks America’s training curriculum in housing rehabilitation, green applications and development with factory-built housing.