“Federal Resources for Sustainable Rural Communities” released

The partnership between four federal agencies seeks to align spending, policies and programs to support rural communities’ efforts to be vibrant, thriving places.

The agricultural and working lands, traditional main streets and unique natural resources of Michigan’s rural communities contribute to a high quality of life for residents and visitors alike. Such assets must be preserved and enhanced for continued success in the global, New Economy.

To assist local leaders in this endeavor, there are state and federal resources available. At the federal level, the Partnership for Sustainable Communities is an initiative comprised of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) with the purpose of aligning the four agencies’ spending, policies and programs to support rural communities’ efforts to be vibrant, thriving places.

Released in the summer of 2012, Federal Resources for Sustainable Rural Communities is a “…guide to HUD, DOT, EPA and USDA programs [that] highlights federal resources rural communities can use to promote economic competitiveness, protect healthy environments, and enhance quality of life. It provides key information on funding and technical assistance opportunities available from the four agencies, as well as examples of how rural communities across the country have put these programs into action.”

Programs and funding highlighted in the publication include:

Department of Housing and Urban Development

  • Community Planning and Development
  • Public Housing
  • Multifamily and Single Family Housing
  • Fair Housing
  • Tribes
  • Supportive Housing for Target Populations
  • Healthy Homes

Environmental Protection Agency

  • Community Planning
  • Brownfields Cleanup and Redevelopment
  • Water Infrastructure and Water Quality
  • Tribes
  • Environmental Justice
  • Healthy Buildings
  • Energy Efficiency

Department of Transportation

  • Planning and Capacity Building
  • Multimodal Transportation
  • Public Transit
  • Streets and Highways
  • Tribes
  • Supportive Services for Target Populations

U.S. Department of Agriculture

  • Community and Economic Development
  • Business Development
  • Single Family Housing
  • Multifamily Housing
  • Agriculture and Food
  • Land Conservation
  • Utilities and Energy Efficiency

According to the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a set of common “livability principles” tie the four agencies’ programs together:

  • Provide more transportation choices.
    Develop safe, reliable and economical transportation choices to decrease household transportation costs, reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil, improve air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote public health.
  • Promote equitable, affordable housing.
    Expand location- and energy-efficient housing choices for people of all ages, incomes, races and ethnicities to increase mobility and lower the combined cost of housing and transportation.
  • Enhance economic competitiveness.
    Improve economic competitiveness through reliable and timely access to employment centers, educational opportunities, services and other basic needs by workers, as well as expanded business access to markets.
  • Support existing communities.
    Target federal funding toward existing communities — through strategies like transit-oriented, mixed-use development and land recycling — to increase community revitalization and the efficiency of public works investments and safeguard rural landscapes.
  • Coordinate and leverage federal policies and investment.
    Align federal policies and funding to remove barriers to collaboration, leverage funding, and increase the accountability and effectiveness of all levels of government to plan for future growth, including making smart energy choices such as locally generated renewable energy.
  • Value communities and neighborhoods.
    Enhance the unique characteristics of all communities by investing in healthy, safe, and walkable neighborhoods — rural, urban or suburban.

For more information visit the EPA Office of Sustainable Communities - Smart Growth webpage.

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