BOZEMAN – The USDA has issued an emergency rural health care grant of $ 500 million, to help with Covid-19 testing, vaccinations and other health-related organizations, including food banks.
“The recovery of Covid and the economic recovery are both top priorities. Over the past semester, the administration has spent a lot of time working on key forecasts to help rural communities thrive, ”said Justin Maxson.
Maxson is the Assistant Under Secretary for Rural Development, at the United States Department of Agriculture, and explains how this grant will be divided into two candidate tracks: Recovery and Impact.
The recovery trail responds directly to the challenges of the pandemic and the methods that can be used to “recover” and revitalize what has been lost, Maxson said. These methods can expand immunization efforts and access, build immunization sites, and help local food banks with needed resources, Maxson said.
During the discussion, specifically from the state of Montana, $ 2.7 million was allocated to our recovery track. Applications for this grant will be October 12, 2021 and will be reviewed by those in the state of Montana.
“It’s a huge boost for us, and we’re up to the challenge. Our staff will understand how we distribute this … by building facilities, Covid vaccination sites, helping food banks, ”said Justin Ceartin.
Ceartin is the Acting State Director for Rural Development in Montana and goes on to identify who is eligible for the grant’s “payback” track. Federally recognized towns, townships, tribal lands with populations of 20,000 or less are considered “rural”; therefore, community not-for-profit organizations, public bodies, and federally recognized tribes are eligible.
“We have offices statewide, we also have over thirty employees statewide. We encourage people to contact our staff and make sure they are available for all of their questions so that we can resolve any intricacies of the program, ”Ceartin said.
While the Impact Track is not administered by the state, instead of our national government, Montana’s allocation is yet to be determined. A point system has been put in place for Impact Track applicants, such as demographic information about their community.
Ceartin adds that the money from this grant will not only go to health services, but will create jobs in rural Montana.
“As these small facilities are able to grow and survive after the pandemic, they will have the ability to bring staff to these hospitals, to these food banks. This will help the community to survive with the numbers, ”Ceartin said.
The Rural Development Twitter account: @RD_Montana will provide updated information regarding grants.