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Agriculture

New PA Preferred Website Offers Many New Connections
To support the increased demand for direct connection between farmers and consumers, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture launched a website for the PA Preferred brand. At papreferred.com, Pennsylvanians can search for Pennsylvania products and connect with Pennsylvania farmers. The new website offers: an opportunity for Pennsylvanians to search for PA Preferred members and their products based on location, an accessible way for PA Preferred members to connect with customers and partner with other PA Preferred businesses, a streamlined system for the department to manage membership and data, and information about connecting with veteran farmers through the Homegrown by Heroes program, and information about the Farm to School program. The website will soon offer a searchable events calendar and more.

Farmer-Veteran Grants Available
Through the PA Farm Bill, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has awarded $200,000 to two veterans’ service organizations to offer farmer-veteran grants. Grants of up to $10,000 will be awarded for various agricultural business needs ranging from food safety and biosecurity planning, to equipment, marketing, or working capital. The farmer-veteran grants will be available through the following veterans’ service organizations:

  • Greenforge, Inc (Pennsylvania Veteran Farming Project), Greensburg (Westmoreland County), contact Mimi Thomas-Brooker, Project Director at 724-691-1087 or pavetsfarm@gmail.com for more information.
  • Community Partnership, Butler (Butler County), contact Sandra Curry, Executive Director at 724-431-3623 or scurry@yourcapinfo.org for more information.

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.

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.

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.

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/Humanities/Libraries

Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC): Accessible Small and Rural Communities Grant
The American Library Association (ALA) is accepting applications from small and rural libraries for the Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC): Accessible Small and Rural Communities grant. Library workers may apply online for grant funding from November 1, 2022, to February 28, 2023. Up to 300 libraries will be awarded in this application period, part of ALA’s longtime community engagement initiative. For more information, visit ALA's  LTC website.


Broadband

Pennsylvania Statewide Broadband Plan
To address the immediate needs and long-term objectives for Pennsylvania broadband expansion that accounts for leveraging a variety of technologies across diverse geographies, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) and the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority (Authority) released the Statewide Broadband Plan. The plan outlines goals and action steps toward achieving universal broadband access in Pennsylvania that meets or exceeds federally defined broadband speeds. In developing the plan, the DCED and the Authority solicited extensive engagement and input from state and local agencies, state legislative leaders, broadband industry leaders, nonprofits, labor organizations, schools, intermediate units, libraries, and public members through webinars, in-person and virtual meetings, and direct outreach. In addition, the Authority established four sub-committees, each with a specific focus: Data & Mapping, Technical, Workforce & Supply Chain, and Outreach & Education. Visit DCED's website for the plan.

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.

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

Apply Now for Rural Business Development Grants
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development is accepting applications to support economic development and create jobs for people in rural America. USDA is making this funding available under the Rural Business Development Grant program to support business opportunities or business enterprise projects in rural communities. Eligible entities are rural towns, communities, state agencies, authorities, nonprofits, federally recognized Tribes, public institutions of higher education and nonprofit cooperatives. Applications for grants, including all set-aside funds, must be submitted in paper or electronic format to the USDA Rural Development State Office in the state where the project is located by Feb. 28, 2023. For more information, visit grants.gov.

AmeriCorps State and National Grants
AmeriCorps improves lives, strengthens communities, and fosters civic engagement through service and volunteering. AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers serve with organizations dedicated to the improvement of communities and those serving. AmeriCorps helps make service a cornerstone of our national culture. AmeriCorps grants are awarded to eligible organizations proposing to engage AmeriCorps members in evidence-based or evidence-informed interventions/practices to strengthen communities. An AmeriCorps member is an individual who engages in community service through an approved national service position. Members may receive a living allowance and other benefits while serving. Upon successful completion of their service, members earn a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award that they can use to pay for higher education expenses or apply to qualified student loans. The application deadline is January 4, 2023. Visit grants.gov for more information.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.


Emergency Services/Fire Prevention

Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities Grants
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency is accepting applications for the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) grant program. The program makes federal funds available to states, U.S territories, Tribal governments, and local communities for pre-disaster mitigation activities. With a general focus on disasters, risks, and hazards, including those associated with climate change, the guiding principles of the program are to: (1) support state and local governments, tribes, and territories through capability- and capacity-building to enable them to identify mitigation actions and implement projects that reduce risks posed by natural hazards; (2) encourage and enable innovation while allowing flexibility, consistency, and effectiveness; (3) promote partnerships and enable high-impact investments to reduce risk from natural hazards with a focus on critical services and facilities, public infrastructure, public safety, public health, and communities; (4) provide an opportunity to reduce future losses and minimize impacts on the Disaster Relief Fund; (5) promote equity, including by helping members of overburdened and underserved groups and prioritizing 40 percent of the benefits to disadvantaged communities as referenced in Executive Order (EO) 14008: Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad in line with the Administration’s Justice40 Initiative; and, (6) support the adoption and enforcement of building codes, standards, and policies that will protect the health, safety, and general welfare of the public, taking into account future conditions, prominently including the effects of climate change, and have long-lasting impacts on community risk reduction, including for critical services and facilities and for future disaster costs. The application deadline is January 27, 2023. Visit grants.gov for more information.

Pennsylvania Office of the State Fire Commissioner
Pennsylvania fire and emergency services programs that are interested in training, community education, loans, grants and more should contact the Pennsylvania Office of the State Fire Commissioner (OSFC). OSFC is the primary representative for fire services in the commonwealth. For more information, visit OSFC’s website or call its offices in Harrisburg (717-651-2201 or 1-800-670-3473) or Lewistown (717-248-1115 or 1-800-459-4096).

PA Firefighter Recruitment and Retention Program
The Office of the State Fire Commissioner (OSFC) is assisting with the statewide efforts to recruit and retain fire and emergency services personnel. The mission of the Recruitment and Retention Program is to assist the fire service in accessing various services in the Commonwealth and provide technical assistance to local fire organizations and local governments. OSFC can assist with certification, education and training, funding, and more. Visit OSFC's recruitment and retention website for more information, or call (717) 651-2207.


Energy


Food/Nutrition

Food and Nutrition Services Updates TEFAP Foods Available List
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service has updated the Foods Available List for the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). The updates were made to reflect recent changes to the program including new foods, material code changes, and items removed due to supply chain related product shortfalls. The list now includes new Kosher certified items. Visit the TEFAP website for the updates.

 


Grant Writing


Health and Human Services

Our Rural Pennsylvania: Interactive Atlas on Influences of Family Health
Policy Lab at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) has released Our Rural Pennsylvania, an online interactive atlas created by mothers and caregivers to record the everyday places that influence their family’s health. The interdisciplinary project sought to identify rural-relevant policies and investments, particularly outside health care systems, that would improve maternal and child health in rural communities. The tool can be used to inform investments to support children and families throughout rural Pennsylvania. Visit CHOP's Policy Lab online to view the atlas.

State of Obesity 2022: Better Policies for a Healthier America
Trust for America's Health has released the 19th annual State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America report, which finds that obesity rates continue to climb nationwide and within population groups. These persistent increases underscore that obesity is caused by a combination of factors including societal, biological, genetic, and environmental, which are beyond personal choice. Addressing the obesity crisis will require attending to the economic and structural factors of where and how people live. Key findings are that: obesity rates are highest in communities of color where barriers to healthy food choices and being physically active are often most prevalent; obesity rates are also increasing among children and adolescents with nearly 20 percent of U.S. children ages 2 to 19 having obesity. These rates more than tripled since the mid-1970s, and Black and Latino youth have substantially higher rates of obesity than do their white peers; and structural and social determinants are significantly influencing the rates of obesity among adults and youth. Factors such as structural racism, discrimination, poverty, food insecurity, housing instability, and lack of access to quality healthcare are key drivers of the differences in obesity rates across racial and ethnic groups. The report is available on the Trust for America's Health website.

Pennie Health Coverage for Pennsylvanians
Pennie is Pennsylvania’s official health and dental coverage marketplace and the only place to get financial assistance to help lower the cost of coverage and care. Pennie enrollment typically runs from November through January 15th for all Pennsylvanians to shop for health insurance. After January 15th, folks who experience a Qualifying Life Event are still eligible to apply for financial assistance and shop for health insurance. For more information, visit the Pennie website.

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/Homelessness

App Helps Students/Families Access Homelessness Services
The Pennsylvania Department of Education has announced the availability of a new app to help students and families experiencing homelessness to access resources and services. The app, Find Your Way PA, can connect users to resources, including shelter, food, health and mental health, personal care items, child care, and education. It is available on three platforms, including the web, Google Play Store and the Apple App Store. The app was developed with funding from the American Rescue Plan Homeless Children and Youth (ARP-HCY) Program, which provides children and youth experiencing homelessness with access to services.

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

Quarter 4 T-Mobile Hometown Grants Now Open
T-Mobile Hometown Grants is a $25 million, five-year initiative to support the people and organizations who help small towns across America thrive and grow. Hometown Grants are given every quarter to up to 25 small towns. Apply for funding to support a community project of your choice, like revitalizing or repurposing a historic structure, creating a downtown asset or destination, or improving a space where friends and neighbors gather. Projects that add to a sense of place or could lead to further investment are of particular interest. We look forward to learning more about your town and your project. The application deadline for this quarter is December 31. Visit the Hometown Grants website for more information.

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

Rural Communities Opioid Response Program Grants Available
The Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP)-Overdose Response will be making approximately 40 awards of up to $300,000 each to address immediate overdose needs in rural communities. This one-year program will support activities that address the rural communities’ most immediate needs related to the drug overdose crisis. HRSA intends for the RCORP to address improved access to, capacity for, and sustainability of rural substance use disorder (SUD) services. The RCORP will focus on the following, but not limited to: purchasing and distributing naloxone, fentanyl test strips, or other relevant supplies within the target rural service area; enhancing capacity to provide mobile crisis intervention services for individuals with SUD in the target rural service area; and offering certification, formalized training, programs, and/or professional mentorship opportunities to enhance providers’ ability to care for individuals with SUD. The application deadline is January 19, 2023. Delivery of all services supported by the RCORP-Overdose Response program must exclusively occur in HRSA-designated rural counties and rural census tracts, as defined by the Rural Health Grants Eligibility Analyzer.

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 a 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.