Dozens of Minnesota communities have access to federal disaster relief grants through the USDA’s Community Facilities Program.
Last week, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Tina Smith, D-Minn., announced the financial grant assistance. Nationally, USDA is making $150 million in grants available for essential community facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes, courthouses, street improvements, child care centers, police stations, fire departments, libraries and food banks.
Klobuchar, Smith and Representatives Jim Hagedorn, Angie Craig, Ilhan Omar, Dean Phillips, Betty McCollum, Tom Emmer and Pete Stauber sent a letter to the president in May 2019 supporting a Major Disaster Declaration for communities in Minnesota working to recover from historic winter snowfall, widespread flooding, and spring blizzards.
In total, flooding and ice storms affected at least 51 Minnesota counties and four tribal nations in the spring of 2019.
The declaration was approved in June 2019 and covered the following counties and tribal areas: Big Stone, Blue Earth, Brown, Chippewa, Clay, Cottonwood, Dodge, Faribault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Grant, Houston, Jackson, Kittson, Lac Qui Parle, Le Sueur, Lincoln, Lyon, Mahnomen, Marshall, Martin, McLeod, Mower, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Norman, Olmsted, Pennington, Pipestone, Polk, Ramsey, Red Lake, Redwood, Renville, Rock, Roseau, Scott, Sibley, Steele, Stevens, Swift, Traverse, Wabasha, Waseca, Washington, Watonwan, Wilkin, Winona, Yellow Medicine counties, and the Prairie Island Indian Community, Red Lake Band of Chippewa, Upper Sioux Community and the White Earth Nation.
The $150 million is included in the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act that President Trump signed into law on June 6.
The grants may be used for relief in natural disasters areas where the Federal Emergency Management Agency has provided a notice declaring a Major Disaster Declaration and assigned a FEMA disaster recovery (DR) number. Grant applications will be accepted at USDA state offices on a continual basis until funds are exhausted. 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. For application details and additional information, see page 47477 of the Sept. 10 Federal Register. Projects must be in eligible rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less.