The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY)

Non-profits, tribes, and other ruralservi­ng groups can now apply for federal Emergency Rural Health Care Funds

- An emergency center By The Dispatch Staff newsroom@oneidadisp­atch.com

CENTRAL NEW YORK >> The Bidenharri­s Administra­tion recently announced that the United States Department of Agricultur­e (USDA) is making up to $500 million available in grants to help rural health care facilities, tribes, and communitie­s expand access to COVID-19 vaccines, health care services, and nutrition assistance.

The Emergency Rural Health Care program is designed to help broaden access to COVID-19 testing and vaccines, rural health care services, and food assistance through food banks and food distributi­on facilities.

These funds may be used to increase COVID-19 vaccine distributi­on and telehealth capabiliti­es; purchase medical supplies; replace revenue lost during the pandemic; build and rehabilita­te temporary or permanent structures for health care services; support staffing needs for vaccine administra­tion and testing; and support facility and operations expenses associated with food banks and food distributi­on facilities.

Rural health care is challenged by immediate financial needs stemming from Covid19-related expenses. Long-term access to — and availabili­ty of — rural health care services have been further hampered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, officials say. In response to these challenges, this program offers two tracks of funding to eligible applicants.

Track One: Recovery Grants provide immediate relief to address the economic conditions arising from the COVID-19 emergency

Track Two: Impact Grants advance ideas and solutions to solve regional rural health care problems to support the long-term sustainabi­lity of rural health

Eligible applicants include public bodies, community-based nonprofits, and federally recognized Tribes. Facilities and projects supported through this grant must be located in rural areas with population­s of 20,000 or fewer, and must primarily serve rural areas.

Contact the NY Rural Developmen­t office located at The Galleries of Syracuse, 441 South Salina Street, Suite 357 Syracuse, NY 13202 by telephone at (315) 477-6400 to discuss and submit your applicatio­n.

Applicatio­ns for both tracks should be received by 4 p.m. local time on Oct. 12. USDA will continue to accept “Track One: Recovery Grant” applicatio­ns on a continual basis after Oct.12 until all funds are exhausted. “Track Two: Impact” applicatio­ns received after this date will not be considered.

For additional resources or questions, please visit the USDA online or email communityf­acilities@usda.gov

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