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Colonias Receive Support from USDA Rural Development

For thousands of families and communities along the US/Mexico border, USDA Rural Development (RD) has provided help…and hope.

Over the past four years we have invested more than $1.2 billion dollars in Colonias in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas—financing a range of projects from clinics and hospitals to water and waste water systems, from state-of-the-art energy-saving photovoltaic solar energy systems to child care centers, from local rural businesses to food banks.

Colonias are neighborhoods or communities within 150 miles of the U.S./Mexico border that are economically distressed. For many the basic infrastructure that most Americans take for granted is non-existent. Such was the case on the Tohono O’odham Nation in southern Arizona. Most of the homesites on this sprawling reservation are miles from the nearest water/waste water infrastructure. Homes were built years ago without indoor plumbing…and the hope of adding sanitary facilities was stymied by the lack of access to treatment facilities.

Modular bathrooms like these can be placed adjacent to homes in the Colonias, providing sanitation services that would otherwise not be available. USDA Photos

Modular bathrooms like these can be placed adjacent to homes in the Colonias, providing sanitation services that would otherwise not be available. USDA Photos

A partnership between USDA RD and the Indian Health Services made possible the construction of stand-alone modular bathrooms—with a toilet, shower, water heater, and indoor/outdoor lighting. The units are next to the individual homes in the Tohono O’odham communities and have dramatically increased the quality of life for tribal members.

In Penitas, Texas, USDA RD funded a wastewater treatment plant that will serve approximately 1,500 families—bringing sanitary water treatment to the community. Because growth and development are often dependent on available infrastructure, the facility was built to not only handle the existing population, but to be able to accommodate anticipate growth. It was heartwarming for me to see the enthusiastic response to the new hope kindled in the community by such a basic facility.

USDA has supported deployment of modular bathrooms like this one In Arizona, at the Tohono O’odham Nation. Sanitation services like these promote public health and reduce the spread of illness and disease. (USDA Photo)

USDA has supported deployment of modular bathrooms like this one In Arizona, at the Tohono O’odham Nation. Sanitation services like these promote public health and reduce the spread of illness and disease. (USDA Photo)

USDA Rural Development believes in supporting Colonias, building partnerships and has made this work a high priority. On June 14, 2012, the USDA Rural Development, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and U.S. Department of Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institution Fund announced a joint Border Capital Community Initiative. The Border Initiative was designed to strengthen public private partnerships and promote economic development for Colonia communities.

To learn more, go to the Border Capital Community Initiative webpage.

Modular bathrooms like these can be placed adjacent to homes in the Colonias, providing sanitation services that would otherwise not be available. USDA Photos

Modular bathrooms like these can be placed adjacent to homes in the Colonias, providing sanitation services that would otherwise not be available. USDA Photos

2 Responses to “Colonias Receive Support from USDA Rural Development”

  1. Simone A Mason, PhD says:

    When I see these types of improvements, I realize how Quality of Life varies so dramatically with even the smallest efforts. Hats off to your USDA Programs.

  2. Arlene Dutschke says:

    It seems that you have created both an effective and efficient method for providing essential services to those in need. Exceptional!

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