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Deputy Agriculture Under Secretary Outlines Job Creation Programs During a Meeting with Faith-Based Organizations

I had the privilege recently of spending time with people who are committed to improving their neighborhoods and communities.  On September 22nd, the White House hosted a symposium on promoting economic recovery and job creation through Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships (FBNP).   Faith and community leaders from across the nation joined together to learn what the Federal Government is doing to support economic development by working in partnership with faith based and community organizations.

The symposium began with remarks by Joshua DuBois, Executive Director of FBNP, and SBA Deputy Administrator Marie Johns.  Participants received an overview of how government agencies are working with faith-based and community organizations to support economic development and create jobs.

I was pleased to participate in a panel discussion where those in attendance learned how the Small Business Administration, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Labor, as well as USDA are working to support faith-based communities and organizations.

I highlighted several Rural Development programs available from USDA including:

•Community Facilities Programs — Direct Loans, Guaranteed Loans and Grants which provide funding for essential community facilities such as town halls, day care centers, and fire stations.

•Rural Rental Housing Loans which provide affordable multi-family housing for very low, low, and moderate-income persons, including families, elderly and persons with disabilities.

•Rural Business Enterprise Grants which finance and facilitate development of small and emerging private business enterprises. Public bodies, private non-profit corporations and federally recognized Indian tribes receive the grant to assist a business. Grant funds do not go directly to the business.

Because many faith-based communities work to feed those in need, I briefly discussed both the SNAP and Summer Food Service Programs which are provided through USDA’s office of Food and Nutrition Services.

This symposium served as a reminder of the importance of federal agencies work in partnership with community leaders to improve economic opportunities and create jobs.

If you and your organization would like more information regarding USDA’s office of Rural Development, and our Faith-based and Community Initiatives, please visit: http://www.usda.gov/fbci.

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