On September 15, 2021, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Justin Maxson unveiled a resource guide as part of National Preparedness Month to help rural communities seeking disaster resiliency and recovery assistance.
This guide follows the Biden-Harris Administration’s announcement of the American Jobs Plan, which targets investments to support infrastructure in communities that are most physically and financially vulnerable to climate-driven disasters.
“According to the President’s plan, the United States endured 22 separate billion-dollar weather and climate disasters in 2020, costing $95 billion in damages to homes, businesses and public infrastructure. Already this year, we have seen historic storms like Ida and fires in the West ravage urban and rural communities alike,” Maxson said.
“Under the leadership of President Biden, Vice President Harris and Secretary Vilsack, USDA remains committed to helping America’s rural communities build back better by making rural infrastructure – including homes and businesses – more resilient in the face of increasingly severe floods, wildfires, hurricanes and other risks,” he added.
The resource guide outlines USDA Rural Development (RD) programs and services that can help rural residents, businesses and communities impacted by disasters and support long-term planning and recovery efforts.
A resource matrix categorizes RD programs that can support preparedness and recovery through four key assistance types:
- housing assistance, and community and economic development planning;
- infrastructure and equipment financing;
- industry, entrepreneurship and local business development; and
- education and training.
The guide also includes information on technical assistance providers and other federal agencies that work with USDA to support rural communities in disaster planning and recovery efforts. It features examples of how customers have used USDA programs to support their recovery efforts.