Today, Congresswoman Lois Capps (CA-23) joined nearly 100 of her bipartisan colleagues in urging the Congressional leadership to ensure continued eligibility for critical U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development program funding for over 500 rural communities nationwide, including Atascadero, Paso Robles, Morro Bay, Nipomo, and Carpinteria on the Central Coast. Specifically, the lawmakers are urging House leadership to include language to protect eligibility for Rural Development funding in the Continuing Resolution appropriations bill to be considered by Congress this month. The USDA Rural Development program supports a wide range of affordable housing, economic development, and critical infrastructure projects in rural areas through grants, loans, and technical assistance. Click here to read about an example of the projects supported by USDA Rural Development.
USDA Rural Development funding provides critical resources to communities on the Central Coast to support and a wide range of economic development and affordable housing projects. People's Self Help Housing, for example, depends on USDA financing to build many of its affordable housing units throughout the Tri-Counties, including 23 currently under construction in Atascadero and 34 in Nipomo. As our state continues to struggle with its budget, continued access to this federal funding and support has never been more important. There is strong a bipartisan support for this effort and we will be working together to preserve this funding for our communities that depend on it," said Capps.
Eligibility for funding through the USDA Rural Development programs is determined by, among other factors, a city's population size as established by the decennial census. In 2000, Congress enacted a grandfather clause that allowed any community that was deemed rural in 1990 to continue to be eligible for USDA Rural Development funding until the 2010 Census, as long as it had a population below 25,000. The grandfather clause will expire on October 1, 2012. If the grandfather clause is not extended, Atascadero, Paso Robles, Morro Bay, Nipomo, and Carpinteria will no longer be eligible for USDA Rural Development program funding, despite their distinctive rural attributes and low populations that garnered the designation in the first place.
We are extremely appreciative of the effort being made by Congresswoman Capps to save vitally needed USDA financing for seniors and working families on the Central Coast," said Jeanette Duncan, Executive Director, People's Self Help Housing.