By Ramona du Houx
Since the beginning of the Obama Administration in Fiscal Year 2009, Maine Rural Development has invested an historic $3.3 billion in Maine’s rural communities through its programs, assisting 18,181 individuals and families to obtain homeownership or make repairs to their homes, constructing 42 Multi-Family Apartment buildings, investing in 250 essential community facilities, including water and waste facilities, assisting 3,505 Maine businesses, and impacting 10,211 jobs.
Just last year the USDA invested a total of $402.3 million in Maine communities in Fiscal Year 2016.
“Rural Development is a remarkable agency within the USDA that can build rural Maine communities from the ground up, investing in the community infrastructure that lays the foundation for strategic economic development. Rural Development invests in the homeowners, businesses, agricultural producers, and communities that help to make Maine a great place to work and call home,” said USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel.
The funding was in the form of loans and grants through the agency’s Housing, Community, and Business & Cooperative Programs, and went directly to recipients in rural.
- Through the agency’s Housing Programs, a total of $316.8 million was invested in both homeownership and affordable rental housing in Maine.
- Through the agency’s Single-Family Housing Programs 1,849 Maine families became homeowners and 130 families were assisted with home repair and rehabilitation, including weatherization of their homes.
- Through the agency’s Multi-Family Housing Programs 8,003 families were assisted with quality rental housing throughout Maine’s rural communities.
Maine communities benefited from a total investment of $55.09 million invested through the Community Programs which was provided to assist essential community facilities, including healthcare facilities, schools, and water and wastewater systems. A total of 36 community facilities were funded, and a total of 16,698 people were provided with improved water and wastewater infrastructure.
The Business & Cooperative Programs strengthened Maine’s economy through investments totaling $8.7 million, assisting 411 Maine businesses and creating and retaining a total of 926 jobs in the state. Maine’s agricultural producers and rural small businesses benefited from grants for value-added production and the installation of renewable and energy efficient systems, helping preserve the environment and reduce operating costs.
USDA Rural Development has Area Offices located in Presque Isle, Bangor, Lewiston, and Scarborough, as well as a State Office, located in Bangor. There are 52 employees working to deliver the agency’s Housing, Business, and Community Programs, which are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, and farmers, and improve the quality of life in rural Maine.
Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office