Today, Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) announced his support for a new federal border initiative targeted at helping communities in the southwest border region confront chronic poverty. The "Border Community Capital Initiative" (known as the "Border Initiative") is a collaborative effort of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Department of Agriculture -- Rural Development (USDA-RD) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund). The purpose of the initiative is to increase capital in the U.S./Mexico border region, an area that includes some of the poorest communities in the country.
"The creation of the Border Community Capital Initiative is great news for residents and businesses in our southwest border region. By helping local financial institutions in the colonias improve their capacity to raise capital, increase lending and boost investment in their communities, this initiative will strengthen community development and help put an end to the cycle of poverty in these areas," said Cuellar. "I am grateful that these federal agencies are helping to tackle chronic poverty in the colonias by giving local businesses the tools they need to make their communities stronger."
HUD, the USDA-RA, and the CDFI Fund have agreed to offer up to $200,000 to nonprofit and/or tribal financial institutions serving colonias for direct investment and technical assistance focusing on affordable housing, small businesses, and community facilities. These efforts will help widen the channels through which larger private institutions and federal agencies can reach potential home owners, renters, business owners, facilities operators and service providers who need their support. If the Border Initiative is successful, the agencies may consider extending this collaboration to other persistent poverty regions of the country.
The Border Community Capital Initiative is part of a series of initiatives delivered through the White House Rural Council. The Council was launched by President Barack Obama last August to help create jobs and expand opportunities in rural communities.