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Agriculture

USDA Accepting Applications for Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced the availability of approximately $35 million in funding for community-based and nonprofit organizations, institutions of higher education, and tribal entities that help historically underserved and veteran farmers and ranchers own and operate successful farms. Funding is through USDA’s Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (also known as the 2501 Program), which is administered by the USDA Office of Partnerships & Public Engagement (OPPE). Projects funded under the 2501 Program include, but are not limited to, conferences, workshops, and demonstrations on various farming techniques, and connecting underserved farmers and ranchers to USDA local officials to increase awareness of USDA’s programs and services while filling the needs for increased partnerships. The deadline to apply is June 8. Visit grants.gov for more details.

Mental Wellness Resources for the Agriculture Community
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has launched the AgriStress Helpline for Pennsylvania farmers and their families who may be experiencing feelings of loneliness, sadness, stress, or depression. Call the AgriStress HelpLine for Pennsylvania - 833-897-AGRI (2474) - it's available 24/7. Visit the department's website for more information.

Apply Now for Dairy Farmers of America CoLAB Accelerator Program
Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) is now accepting applications for the 2022 DFA CoLAB Accelerator program, which will begin in April and run through June 2022. The program is designed to foster relationships with startup companies and help advance innovative solutions in the areas of ag-tech and dairy food products. For the 2022 program, DFA's CoLAB Accelerator is looking for ag-tech companies with applications or technologies related to any portion of the dairy value chain, including but not limited to animal health, farm data management, herd health and management, supply chain optimization, farm labor and sustainability. Some ag-tech categories of particular interest to DFA include antibiotic alternatives, renewable or alternative energy methods, farm labor solutions, food waste technologies, automation and robotics, on-farm connectivity, animal identification and monitoring and animal transport technologies. On the food front, the farmer-owned Cooperative is seeking early-stage food product companies that are dairy-focused or dairy-based, including products using milk, cheese, butter, whey or other dairy-based ingredients. Companies developing innovative processing or manufacturing technologies for dairy products, including sustainable packaging, will also be considered. For more information, visit the CoLAB website.

Organic Certification Cost Share Program
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP), administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA), provides organic producers and handlers with financial assistance to reduce the cost of organic certification. The program reimburses producers and handlers for a portion of their paid certification costs. Once certified, organic producers and handlers are eligible to receive reimbursement for 50 percent of certification costs each year, up to a maximum of $500 per certification scope-crops, livestock, wild crops, handling, and State Organic Program fees. Eligible costs include application fees, inspection costs, fees related to equivalency agreement/arrangement requirements, travel/per diem for inspectors, user fees, sales assessments, and postage. More information on the program and how to apply is available on FSA's website.

Apply Now for Farm Vitality Planning Grants
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is now accepting applications for the Farm Vitality Planning Grant Program, which is part of the Pennsylvania Farm Bill Program. The grant program will help to fund professional services for those planning for the future of a farm. Funding will also support the long-term vitality of Pennsylvania's farms through sound business planning, efficient transitions of farm ownership, strategic farm expansion, diversification of agricultural production, and building a team of financial and technical expertise as a resource for Pennsylvania's farmers. This reimbursement grant offers a maximum grant amount is $7,500 and is limited to 75 percent of project costs. Grant applications will be accepted until funding is exhausted. Visit the department's website for more information.

Spotted Lanternfly Business Toolkit Available
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has developed the Spotted Lanternfly Business Toolkit to help businesses understand the threats of the Spotted Lanternfly, and to help slow its spread in the commonwealth. As Spotted Lanternfly season approaches, it is critical that Pennsylvania businesses know their responsibilities when it comes to the quarantine and permitting. Visit the Department of Agriculture's website at this link for more information.

USDA Initiative Offers Pandemic Assistance for Producers
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has established programs and efforts to bring financial assistance to farmers, ranchers and producers who felt the impact of COVID-19 market disruptions. USDA Pandemic Assistance for Producers will reach a broader set of producers than in previous COVID-19 aid programs. USDA is dedicating at least $6 billion toward the programs. Click here for more information.

USDA Launches AgLab for Students, Educators
AgLab, a new science-education website operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service is now available to student and educators. AgLab's goal is to help  educate students about the critical intersect of science and agriculture in their daily lives, such as wrinkle-free cotton, edible coatings that keep apple slices from turning brown, a low-glycemic sweetener, DEET insecticide, and a bounty of new varieties of fruits and vegetables. Geared toward K-12 students with an interest in food and science, AgLab offers a variety of content to promote a greater understanding of how agricultural research is helping meet the food, fiber, feed and fuel needs of a growing world population while also safeguarding our environment and natural resources.

Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Program Guidelines
The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) has program guidelines available on the Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Program. The income tax credit provides an incentive to lease or sell land, buildings, and/or equipment to beginning farmers. The program allows for a one-time tax credit for property sold to a beginning farmer or a multi-year credit for property leased. The tax credit could be used to aid in family transitions, such as sales from a parent to a child, or to help an unrelated beginning farmer. Beginning farmers who participate in the program must be certified by DCED by demonstrating that they have the experience or skills needed to work in agriculture, have not received income from farming for more than 10 years, and plan to farm in Pennsylvania. Property owners can claim a credit equal to 5 percent of the sale price or fair market value (whichever is lower) of an asset sold to a beginning farmer, up to a maximum of $32,000. For rental agreements, the credit is equal to 10 percent of gross rental income for the first, second, and third years of the rental agreement, a maximum of $7,000/year. Click here for more information.

Pa Preferred Homegrown By Heros Program Open To Farmers Who Are Military Veterans
Homegrown by Heroes is a program for PA Preferred members who are veterans. The program allows farmers who are military veterans to add the Homegrown by Heroes logo to their products so that consumers can easily identify it and support veteran-owned businesses. A program of the Farmer Veteran Coalition, Homegrown by Heroes was founded by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture in January 2013. To become a certified Homegrown By Heroes member, first become a member of the Farmer Veteran Coalition (membership is free). If you are not yet a member or for more information, visit the Farmer Veteran Coalition website. After your membership has been approved by FVC, you'll need to become a certified Homegrown By Heroes member. More details can be found on the Farmer Veteran Coalition's Homegrown by Heroes page. Finally, apply to the PA Preferred program (membership is free). Once these requirements have been met, complete the PA Preferred Homegrown by Heroes Application (PDF).

Farmlink Resources Focus On Healthy Farms, Healthy Minds
Pennsylvania Farmlink has posted some new resources for farmers called, Healthy Farms, Healthy Minds. The brochure and video encourage farmers to pay attention to and care for their mental health, just as they would pay attention to the health and vibrancy of their farms. Click Healthy Farms, Healthy Minds - YouTube for the video and Resource Hub | PA Farm Link for additional resources.

PA Farm Link Database Helps Keep Pa Land In Agriculture
Agriculture is one of Pennsylvania's top industries and it's important to keep land in agriculture production and help the next generation keep it alive and thriving, Pennsylvania Farm Link offers an online database of farming opportunities for the next generation. There is a one-time fee of $100 to list on the database. Farmer information is kept completely confidential until famers decide they are ready to meet the interested farmer or landowner. Visit the PA Farm Link website at www.pafarmlink.org and click on either the "Find A Farm" or "Find A Farmer" tab to see what is currently available. For more information call (717) 705-2121 or email farmland@pafarmlink.org.


Arts and Humanities

 


Broadband

NTIA Interactive Map Helps Public Visualize Digital Divide
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) recently announced a new publicly available digital map that displays key indicators of broadband needs across the country. This is the first interactive, public map that allows users to explore different datasets about where people do not have access to quality broadband. The Indicators of Broadband Need map integrates data from both public and private sources and contains data aggregated at the county, census tract, and census block level. Speed-test data provided by M-Lab and Ookla help illustrate the reality that many parts of the country report speeds that fall below the Federal Communication Commission's current benchmark for fixed broadband service of 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload. The map also allows users to see the relationship between poverty and Internet use, displaying how areas of high poverty relate to lack of access to computers and related equipment. Usage patterns in tribal communities, which have historically suffered from lack of internet access, are included in the map as well.

Telecommunications Infrastructure Loans and Loan Guarantee Program
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development is accepting applications for loans and loan guarantees to build or update broadband and telephone infrastructure in rural areas where financing can be used for the construction, improvement, or expansion of telecommunications infrastructure serving rural areas with a population of 5,000 or fewer. The application period is ongoing. Visit USDA Rural Development for more information.

Economic Development Grants for Broadband Infrastructure, Adoption, Skills Training
The Economic Development Administration (EDA will administer $1.5 billion for economic development assistance, which is being administered under the authority of the bureau's flexible Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) program, to provide a wide-range of financial assistance to communities and regions as they respond to and recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. EDA is accepting applications from applicants in rural and urban areas to provide investments that support construction, non-construction, technical assistance, and revolving loan fund projects under EDA's Public Works and EAA programs, including planning, broadband infrastructure, broadband adoption, digital skills training, and smart cities. Eligible applicants are libraries, higher education institutions, state and local governments, tribal entities, and nonprofit organizations. Grants and cooperative agreements made under these programs are designed to leverage existing regional assets and support the implementation of economic development strategies that advance new ideas and creative approaches to advance economic prosperity in distressed communities. EDA provides strategic investments on a competitive-merit-basis to support economic development, foster job creation, and attract private investment in economically distressed areas. For more information, click here or contact the Philadelphia Regional Office at (215) 597-4603.

Pennsylvania Broadband Investment Incentive Program
The Pennsylvania Governor's Office of Broadband Initiatives offers funding and resource announcements through its Pennsylvania Broadband Investment Incentive Program. The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) administers several programs for which broadband deployment may be an eligible use. Click on the name of the following programs to learn about eligibility requirements and program guidelines. Business in Our Sites Grants/Loans; Fay-Penn Program; Keystone Communities Program; Local Share Account (LSA) - Fayette County; Local Share Account (LSA) - Luzerne County; Local Share Account (LSA) - Monroe County; Local Share Account (LSA) - Montgomery County; Local Share Account (LSA) - Washington County; Pennsylvania First Program (PA First); Pennsylvania Economic Development Financing Authority (PEDFA) Tax Exempt Bond Program; Pennsylvania Economic Development Financing Authority (PEDFA) Taxable Bond Program; Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA).  For information about how to apply for DCED programs, click here. Assistance with broadband deployment in connection with transportation projects may also be available from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Bank, a program of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

FCC's Affordable Connectivity Program for Broadband
The Affordable Connectivity Program, which replaced the Emergency Broadband Benefit, is a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) benefit program that helps ensure that households can afford the broadband they need for work, school, healthcare and more. The benefit provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward internet service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price. The Affordable Connectivity Program is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household. For more information, visit the FCC's website.   


Childcare and Early Learning

USDA and HHS Launch Rural Resource Guide to Help Increase Access to Child Care Services

The U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development and Health and Human Services (HHS) Administration for Children and Families have released a Joint Resource Guide to help people in rural and Tribal communities increase access to child care services. The guide provides useful information to help stakeholders in rural communities - including Tribes and Tribal organizations - address the need for improved access to affordable, high-quality childcare and early learning facilities through USDA and HHS funding and technical assistance resources. For more information on USDA Rural Development, visit www.rd.usda.gov.


Community and Economic Development

Community Strategies Group Releases Brief on Working with Immigrant and Refugee Families
Aspen Institute's Community Strategies Group has released its latest brief, Cultural Competency Secrets to Success with Immigrant and Refugee Families, which focuses on how organizations can make their work more culturally responsive and effective. The brief is part of the group's Family Economic Success series, which captured learnings on the best organizational strategies to provide 2Gen services to immigrant and refugee families from a year-long project, including four webinars and peer learning sessions. Visit the Aspen Institute's Community Strategies Group website for more information and to download the brief.

Hometown Grants Now Available
The T-Mobile Hometown Grant program is open now through June 30. In partnership with Main Street America and Smart Growth America, the T-Mobile Hometown Grant program provides grants of up to $50,000 to help build stronger, more prosperous small towns and rural communities. Visit the Hometown Grant Program webpage for more details.

New Resource Guide for Rural Community and Economic Development
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) have released a joint resource guide to help community organizations access USDA and EDA resources to build strategies to boost economic development in rural America. The resource guide outlines programs and services that can be used to advance community and economic development in rural communities through four key focus areas: Planning and technical assistance; Infrastructure and broadband expansion; Entrepreneurship and business assistance; and Workforce development and livability. The guide also features information and links to USDA Rural Development and U.S. Economic Development Administration key priorities and resources. The guide, Stronger Together:Federal funding and planning strategies designed to promote sustainable economic development in rural America, is available on USDA Rural Development's website.

Nominate Your Public Space or Greenway/Trail for Great Places in PA Program
The PA Chapter of the American Planning Association is accepting nominations for the Great Places in PA Program. If you know a special public space or greenway/trail that displays a wealth of best practices in community planning and serves as a model for other communities, nominate it. The deadline for nominations, which must be submitted via the PA Chapter website, is June 9.

DCED Accepting Applications for Neighborhood Assistance Program
The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) is accepting applications for the Neighborhoold Assistance Program (NAP), which is a tax credit program to encourage businesses to invest in projects that improve distressed areas. A project must serve distressed areas or support neighborhood conservation. Projects must fall under one of the following categories: affordable housing programs, community services, crime prevention, education, job training or neighborhood assistance. A tax credit of up to 55 percent can be awarded. Other components of the program are the Neighborhood Partnership Program (NPP), which focuses on long-term collaborations (five years or more) of business, government and community leaders to produce a comprehensive, asset-based and relationship-driven approach to community development; the Special Program Priorities (SPP), which targets specific problems and projects that the state has designated as priorities  in a distressed area; and the Charitable Food Program (CFP), which focuses on improving food security in Pennsylvania. The application deadline is May 31. Visit the department's website for more information.

Results from National Survey of Rural Development Stakeholders on Priorities and Capacities for Rural Community, Economic, and Workforce Development
The nation’s four Regional Rural Development Centers (RRDCs) have released the findings from a national survey of rural development stakeholders. Conducted in the fall of 2021, and led by the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development (NERCRD), the survey is part of a year-long Listening Session Initiative aimed at identifying key priorities and critical investments for rural communities’ recovery and growth. Visit NERCRD's website for a copy of the report, Investing in Rural Recovery: Findings from a Rapid Assessment of Stakeholder Priorities for Rural Development.

RCAP Solutions Launches Open for Business Program for Small Businesses, Entrepreneurs
RCAP Solutions has launched the Open for Business program, an economic development initiative that aims to support small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs. Powered by the Wells Fargo Open for Business Fund, the program offers self-guided online workshops, monthly webinars, and one-on-one consulting (which are all provided in both English and Spanish). All of these services are provided at no cost. All current business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs intending to establish, purchase, or improve a business are eligible and encouraged to participate. This program is coordinated by the national Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) to provide services to small businesses across the entire country. RCAP Solutions provides these services throughout the Northeast and Caribbean regions. For more information, visit the RCAP Solutions Open for Business website.

USDA Accepting Application Under Strategic Economic and Community Development Initiative
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting applications to implement projects supported by regional economic and community development planning to help rural Americans. The 2018 Farm Bill authorized USDA to make this funding available under the Strategic Economic and Community Development (SECD) initiative. Funding may be used to implement projects that are supported by multi-jurisdictional and multi-sectoral strategic community investment plans. In fiscal year 2022, this funding is available under the following USDA Rural Development programs: Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program; Community Facilities Loan Guarantee Program; Water and Waste Disposal Direct Loan and Grant Program; Water and Waste Disposal Loan Guarantees; Rural Business Development Grants; and Community Connect Grants. To be eligible for SECD reserved funding, applicants must meet the requirements and deadlines under the covered programs. Applicants must also submit a Form 1980-88 to USDA. USDA Rural Development encourages applicants to consider projects that will advance key priorities including combating the COVID-19 pandemic, addressing the impacts of climate change and/or advancing equity in rural America. For more information, visit https://www.rd.usda.gov/priority-points. For more information on other requirements and deadlines under the covered programs, visit www.rd.usda.gov.

Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program Grants and Loans Available
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting applications for loan and grants to support rural microenterprises through the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP). RMAP provides loans and grants to a non-profit entity, tribe or institution of higher education as a Microenterprise Development Organization (MDO) to establish revolving loan funds to provide loans to rural microloan borrowers and microentrepreneurs. The funds also may be used to provide training and technical assistance to microentrepreneurs. To be eligible for a loan from an MDO, an ultimate recipient must be a business with 10 or fewer full-time employees and be in a non-metropolitan rural area with a population of 50,000 or less. Applications are being accepted in USDA's Rural Development State Office where the project is located. For more information and application deadlines, see page 41004 of the July 30 Federal Register.

USDA Rural Workforce Resource Guide
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released a resource guide (PDF, 2.5 MB) to help rural community leaders start and expand employment opportunities and access resources to train, recruit and create a sustainable rural workforce. The resource guide outlines programs and services available at USDA and other federal agencies that support workforce development in rural communities. It helps community leaders and other local entities access resources more easily to create jobs, train talent, expand educational opportunities and provide technical assistance. A resource matrix organizes USDA funding opportunities by four key assistance types: workforce development planning; infrastructure and equipment financing; industry and employer engagement, entrepreneurship and local business development; and education, training and apprenticeship. The guide also features examples of how customers have used USDA programs to support each assistance type. It includes recommendations on how rural leaders can replicate this assistance in their communities. Additional resources to support rural workforce development are available at www.rd.usda.gov/rwin.

Rural LISC Funding To Develop, Improve Community Facilities
Rural LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation) is accepting applications for the Community Facilities Fund, which provides capital to help develop and improve essential community facilities in rural areas. Rural LISC uses this fund to provide permanent and construction-to-permanent financing for rural community facilities, including health care centers, hospitals, educational facilities, and other nonprofit and public facilities in rural communities with populations under 20,000. There is no application deadline. For more information, click here.

PA'S One-Stop Shop For Business Development
Looking for help to start your own business or expand your existing business? Visit Pennsylvania's Business One-Stop Shop at www.business.pa.gov. The site provides information and resources for businesses both large and small, and serves as the first point of contact for Pennsylvania business development concerns. The shop's team helps connect and guide businesses through all stages of development - from planning and startup to operating and expanding. Visit www.business.pa.gov or call (833) 722-6778.


COVID-19

Free Rapid COVID-19 Tests
The Biden Administration is distributing free, at-home, rapid COVID-19 tests to American homes. The program is limiting the number of tests sent to each residential address to four tests. Tests will usually ship within 7-12 days of ordering. All orders in the continental U.S. will be sent through First Class Package Service, with shipments to Alaska, Hawaii, and the U.S. Territories and APO/FPO/DPO addresses sent through Priority Mail. The administration is taking a number of steps to ensure that the program reaches the hardest-hit and highest-risk communities by prioritizing processing orders to households experiencing the highest social vulnerability and in communities that have experienced a disproportionate share of COVID-19 cases and deaths, particularly during this Omicron surge; launching a free call line, so that Americans who have difficulty accessing the internet or need additional support can phone-in orders for their tests; and, working with national and local organizations with deep experience serving communities of color, people living with disabilities, and other high-risk communities to serve as navigators, raise awareness about the program, and help people submit requests. For more information, see the announcement here.

Rural Community Toolkit on Building Vaccine Confidence
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released the Rural Community Toolkit to increase confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines while reinforcing basic prevention measures in rural communities. The toolkit features tailored materials to help educate rural residents about the vaccines. This material is intended for all organizations that communicate directly with rural audiences. Access the user guide to learn how to use it in your community.

CDC Community-Based Toolkit on COVID-19 Vaccines and More
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has designed a toolkit to help community-based organizations educate communities about the importance of COVID-19 vaccines, raise awareness about the benefits of the vaccination, and address common questions and concerns. Click here for the toolkit. 

RHIHUB Rural Resources For Covid-19
Rural Health Information Hub (RHIhub) had developed an online guide to provide information about activities underway to address COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Federal and state agencies, along with national organizations, are sharing resources and guidelines to help all communities and healthcare facilities, including rural areas, respond to this issue. Visit www.ruralhealthinfo.org/topics/covid-19 for the latest information.


Domestic Violence Prevention

PCADV Releases New 5-Year Domestic Violence Prevention Plan
The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV), with the assistance of a diverse and interdisciplinary Statewide Leadership Team (SLT), has released its bold 5-year plan for preventing domestic violence in Pennsylvania. Rooted in a social justice approach, the plan looks at the prevalence of domestic violence by acknowledging and addressing oppressions that lead to inequities in access to power and resources across groups of people. Both the development of the SLT and the State Action Plan are made possible, and fully funded, by a 5-year DELTA Impact grant awarded by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to the PCADV in 2018. Visit PCADV's website to view and download the 5-year plan.


Energy


Food/Nutrition

SNAP Process and Technology Improvement Grants Available
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service has announced the availability of $5 million in competitive grants to enhance efficiency and access in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program through process and technology improvements. The SNAP Process and Technology Improvement Grants are awarded through a competitive application process. The multi-year grants seek to improve the experience of SNAP participants by enabling grantees to update inefficient or ineffective processes or use technology to streamline operations and provide better customer service. The application process also requires grant applicants to demonstrate how their initiatives will affect SNAP with respect to equity and inclusion. Eligible entities include: state and local agencies that administer SNAP; state or local governments; agencies providing health or welfare services; public health or educational entities; and private nonprofit entities. The application deadline is June 27. The three-year grants will be announced in fall 2022. For more information, visit the FY 2022 SNAP Process and Technology Improvement Grants website.


Grant Writing


Health and Human Services

Rural Public Health Workforce Training Network Technical Assistance Program
The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is accepting funding applications for the Rural Public Health Workforce Training Network Technical Assistance Program (Short Title: RPHWTN-TAP). The program will provide funding for a single entity to provide technical assistance to rural healthcare networks engaging in workforce training activities who are addressing the critical need for more trained health professionals, which has been amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible applicant organizations are public or private, nonprofit or for-profit entities, including faith-based, community-based, tribes and tribal organizations. The applicant organization may be located in a rural or urban area, but must have demonstrated experience serving, or the capacity to serve, rural underserved populations. The application deadline is June 8. For more information, visit the HRSA website.

Community Health Worker Training Program Funding Available
The Community Health Worker Training Program is a new multiyear program from the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Bureau of Health Workforce. The program is focused on education and on-the-job training to build the pipeline of public health workers. This effort will support training and apprenticeship programs to help more people enter the health workforce and serve the critical role of trusted messengers to connect people to care and support, help ensure patients follow-up on their provider’s recommendations, and focus on preventive and protective factors that can improve health and well-being. Community health workers are critically important in rural areas. HRSA plans to train 13,000 community health workers, increasing access to care, improving public health emergency response, and addressing the public health needs of underserved communities. The application deadline is June 14. For more information on how rural communities can develop Community Health Worker programs that meet their specific needs, visit the Rural Health Information Hub's Rural Community Health Worker Toolkit. To apply for the Community Health Worker Training Program, visit grants.gov.

Innovations in Alzheimer's Caregiving Awards Program
The Innovations in Alzheimer's Caregiving Awards Program offers monetary awards to programs or projects that focus on supporting family and informal caregivers of adults with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. The program is sponsored by the Family Caregiver Alliance. One award of $20,000 will be given in each of three categories: creative expression - programs that use imaginative and creative approaches, such as art, music, theater, multimedia, and technology; diverse/multicultural communities - programs that fill a gap in services, support, or other types of outreach to family/informal caregivers in rural, low-income, diverse ethnic, diverse age, or LGBTQ communities; and public policy - programs that advocate for systems change for the benefit of family/informal caregivers or care recipients. Eligible applicants are nonprofits, government agencies and universities. For more information, visit the program website, or the online application.

Rural Health Information Hub Online
If you're looking for an online source for current and reliable resources and tools on rural health needs and the work being done to address them, check out the Rural Health Information Hub (RHIhub), formerly the Rural Assistance Center. RHIhub is funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy to be a national clearinghouse on rural health issues. RHIhub also provides free assistance customized to your needs. Call (800) 270-1898 or email info@ruralhealthinfo.org.

Angel Flight's Free, Non-Emergency Air Travel For Rural Children And Adults
Angel Flight East (AFE), founded in Pennsylvania by Harry Morales, a general aviation pilot, is dedicated to rural health by facilitating free air transportation to children and adults in need of medical treatment far from home. AFE is based in Montgomery County, Pa., and serves the Northeast United States. While AFE flies patients from all over a 14-state territory, it has seen an even greater need for patients living in rural areas and those with rare medical conditions who often have to travel far distances for treatment. For more information, click here.


Historic Preservation

Certified Local Government Grants Available
The Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) has announced two new grant programs exclusively for Certified Local Governments in Pennsylvania. The Certified Local Government Program (CLG) is a partnership between municipal governments, SHPO, and the National Park Service (NPS) that promotes and supports effective historic preservation programs and policies in Pennsylvania municipalities. Designation is a mark of distinction that provides participating communities with credibility, as well as access to technical assistance and grant programs. The CLG Mini-Grant program provides grants up to $7,500 for planning, ordinances, surveys, studies, guidelines, and public education projects (basically anything that is not construction). These grants can be used for projects sponsored by the municipality, or that the municipality applies for on behalf of a partner organization in the community. Mini-grants are available on a rolling basis and are awarded first-come-first-served. Click here for the application. The CLG Scholarship program provides funding for individuals in CLG communities to participate in conferences, seminars, and online programs related to preservation issues, to host speakers and training programs, or to purchase educational materials or memberships in organizations that provide training programs and publications. Scholarships may be up to $2,000 for each individual attending an event or $5,000 per hosted training program. Larger awards will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Scholarships are available on a rolling basis and are awarded first-come-first-served. Click here for the application. Click here for more information about CLG.


Housing

USDA Seeks Applications for Housing Preservation Grants to Repair, Rehab Rental Units
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development is seeking applications for grants to help owners of rental housing repair and rehabilitate their units, if they make them available for low- and very-low-income rural residents. USDA is providing the funding through the Housing Preservation Grant program. Eligible applicants include town or county governments, public agencies, federally recognized Indian tribes, and nonprofit and faith-based organizations. USDA encourages applicants to consider projects that will advance the following key priorities: assisting rural communities recover economically from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly disadvantaged communities; ensuring all rural residents have equitable access to USDA Rural Development (RD) programs and benefits from RD-funded projects; and, reducing climate pollution and increasing resilience to the impacts of climate change through economic support to rural communities. USDA does not provide funding directly to individual homeowners under this program. Paper pre-applications are due July 11 at the Rural Development state office. Electronic pre-applications are due July 11. For a list of offices, visit the state office website. Visit USDA Rural Development's website for more information.

Flexible Loans from HAC
The Housing Assistance Council (HAC)has flexible loan capital available to support preservation of U.S. Department of Agriculture Section 515 properties, U.S. Housing and Urban Development-subsidized properties, and naturally occurring affordable housing in rural places. Eligible properties are existing affordable or mixed-income rental housing (with or without current income restrictions). Loans can be $50,000-$1.5 million, interest rates can be as low as 4.5%, and terms can be up to 180 months, with longer amortization periods based on project needs. Eligible borrowers include nonprofit organizations, for-profit developers, housing authorities, and tribal entities. For more information, see HAC's website.

USDA Rural Development Housing Loans, Grants, Technical Assistance
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development has several loan and grant programs for homeowners, including the following: Single Family Housing Repair Loans and Grants (Section 504 Home Repair Program), which provide loans to very-low-income homeowners to repair, improve, or modernize their homes or provides grants to elderly very-low-income homeowners to remove health and safety hazards; Rural Home Loans Direct Program (Section 502 Direct Loan Program), which assists low- and very-low-income applicants with obtaining decent, safe, and sanitary housing in eligible rural areas by providing payment assistance to increase an applicant's repayment ability; and Mutual Self-Help Housing Technical Assistance Grants, which provide grants to qualified organizations to help them carry out local self-help housing construction projects. More information on these and other USDA Rural Development services and programs is available at https://www.rd.usda.gov/pa or by calling (717) 237-2273.


Infrastructure

Apply Now for the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP)
The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services is accepting applications for the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP), a temporary emergency program to help low-income families pay overdue water bills. LIHWAP is a grant and does not have to be repaid. LIHWAP crisis grants may be available if you have an emergency situation and are in jeopardy of losing your water service. You can receive one crisis grant for your drinking water service and one crisis grant for your wastewater service, up to $2,500 each. Crisis situations include: past-due water bills; termination of utility service; and danger of having utility service terminated (received a notice that service will be shut off within the next 60 days). The program will run through September 30, 2023 or until all funds have been expended. Applications are being accepted through the Compass website. You can also download and mail-in an application, or request an application by calling the Statewide Customer Service Center at 877-395-8930 or call PA Relay at 711 for the hearing impaired. For more information, visit the department's website.

USDA Rural Development Loans And Grants Programs
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development has the Water and Waste Disposal Direct Loan and Grant Program and Loan Guarantees Program available. The Water and Waste Disposal Direct Loan and Grant Program can provide funding for clean and reliable drinking water systems, sanitary sewage disposal, sanitary solid waste disposal, and storm water drainage to households and businesses in eligible rural areas. The Water and Waste Disposal Loan Guarantees Program can help private lenders provide affordable financing to qualified borrowers to improve access to clean, reliable water and waste disposal systems for households and businesses in rural areas. To learn more about either of these programs, contact your local Pennsylvania USDA Rural Development office here.

America Walks Technical Assistance
America Walks is now offering more intensive, Technical Assistance (T.A.) solutions to government, non-profit, and business clients. With more than 20 years of experience in advocacy campaigns and policy development, America Walks' T.A. program is based on proven strategies for engaging community stakeholders, building local walking movements, and developing the political will that leads to positive change. Click here for more information.


Opioids/Substance Abuse Disorder

Accessing No-Cost Naloxone in Pennsylvania
Naloxone saves lives by reversing opioid overdoses. Naloxone is a critical tool in Pennsylvania’s efforts to address the opioid epidemic, in addition to other efforts like expanding access to treatment, services, and supports for people with substance use disorder (SUD). Pennsylvanians can play an important role in addressing this public health crisis by being prepared, learning the signs of overdose and how to respond, and getting naloxone. The Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs encourages you to learn about the ways individuals, organizations, and agencies can access naloxone. Click here for the one-page PDF for resources to access no-cost naloxone in Pennsylvania.  

PA DHS And Aging Announce Kinconnector Helpline
The Pennsylvania Departments of Human Services and Aging have announced a new KinConnector helpline for families in kinship care situations, including grandparents, aunts, uncles and siblings raising children because of the opioid crisis. The KinConnector helpline connects families with available resources such as: health, financial, and legal services; training; parenting advice; locating physical or behavioral health services; school enrollment; support groups; and other services designed to help caregivers. Navigators will also be available to help families apply for federal, state, and local benefits. To reach KinConnector, call 1-866-KIN-2111 (1-866-546-2111). Assistance is available Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.dhs.pa.gov.

Guidebook Assists Rural Leaders With Response To Crisis Of Addiction
The Office of National Drug Control Policy has released a new guidebook to assist rural community leaders in building an effective local response to the crisis of addiction. The Rural Community Action Guide: Building Stronger, Healthy Drug-Free Rural Communities provides rural leaders with information they can put into immediate action to create change. It provides background information, recommended action steps, and promising practices to help manage the impact of substance use disorder on local communities and help persons with the disease of addiction. The topics are based on lessons learned from Department of Agriculture rural roundtable discussions held in over a dozen states, as well as the experiences of several rural stakeholder partners.  

Seniors

Senior Food Box Program Helps Stretch Food Dollars
The Senior Food Box program is a monthly food package tailored for older adults, age 60 and above, that helps stretch food dollars and adds nutritious foods to promote good health. The program works to improve the health of low-income seniors by supplementing their diets with nutritious food. In Pennsylvania, eligible participants include low-income individuals who are at least 60 years old and whose household income is at or below 130 percent of the U.S. poverty level. The program is supported through USDA's Commodity Supplemental Food Program. USDA purchases the food and makes it available to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA), which works with local nonprofit agencies to facilitate distribution of the monthly food boxes to eligible participants. To apply, applications should fill out the self-certification form and submit it to PDA at RA-fooddist@pa.gov. PDA will then route the application to the appropriate food bank providing service in the applicant's county of residence. Applicants can also call 800-468-2433 to be directed to the regional food bank distributing the Senior Food Box in their county of residence. More information is available at PDA's website.

SNAP Benefits for Seniors
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps Pennsylvanians buy food. People in eligible low-income households can obtain more nutritious diets with SNAP, which helps increase their food purchasing power at grocery stores and supermarkets. Those who are eligible receive an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) ACCESS Card to make food purchases. Studies show seniors enrolled in SNAP have better health and need less acute and long-term care. If everyone in the household is age 60 or older or has a disability, purchases and prepares food together, and does not receive any earnings from work, they can fill out a simple application. Visit the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services' website for more information.


Workforce Development

United Way of Pennsylvania Data/Information on ALICE®- Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed
Looking for data on Pennsylvanians who are working, but struggling to survive and afford child care? Visit the United Way of Pennsylvania's ALICE®, or Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed - website to learn more about the 27 percent of Pennsylvanians who work, but struggle to survive.

USDA Unveils Resource Guide to Help Rural Entrepreneurs
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has a resource guide available to help people in rural America start and grow businesses, create good-paying jobs in their communities and strengthen America’s economy. The guide features information on how rural entrepreneurs can use USDA and other federal programs to access financing and other assistance to help start and expand their businesses. It includes tools to help them: expand their access to capital to create small business incubators; create value-added agricultural products; access high-speed internet to connect their businesses to national and global markets; cut energy costs; access health care resources to enhance the quality of life for their employees; and access workforce development and training opportunities to improve their skills, products and services. The guide also features firsthand stories from Rural Development customers on ways USDA programs and services have helped them start or expand businesses. To learn more about investment resources for rural areas, visit USDA Rural Development or contact the USDA Rural Development Pennsylvania Office.

USDA Invites Partners to Join the Rural Workforce Innovation Network (RWIN)
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) established the Rural Workforce Innovation Network (RWIN) to create a forum for public and private partners to help increase access to workforce opportunities across rural America. This network represents governmental entities, colleges and universities, nonprofit organizations, and private businesses that are actively working to improve workforce development in their local communities. The kick-off meeting for this effort has already taken place, but more meetings are planned. Click here to learn more and join the network.