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May 17th, 2010
Agriculture Department Awards $330,000 to Campesinos sin Fronteras to Assist Yuma Residents With Housing Rehabilitation Projects

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced a $330,000 grant to Campesinos sin Fronteras to provide technical assistance for homeowner-assisted housing renovations in the Yuma area. The money comes through Rural Development, a part of the department that focuses on infrastructure in rural areas.

The money will be disbursed later this month. The new grant is the fourth housing rehab award for Campesinos sin Fronteras, which runs one of only two programs in the nation to provide grant application assistance to people who wish to rehabilitate their homes. The grant pays for the entire Campesinos program, which identifies homeowners with rehabilitation needs and the state or federal grants for which they may be eligible, assists in the application process, and recruits applicants through public outreach.

The most recent federal grant to support the program, which lasted two years, ran out last December, leading Campesinos to apply again in February. The previous grant application said the program would assist approximately 40 home rehabilitations but ultimately assisted more than 60, according to Campesinos.

The rehabilitation needs of homes varies widely, as does the homeowners’ physical and financial capacity to assist in the project. Some homes eligible for state or federal rehab funds simply need new air conditioners, while others need emergency plumbing repairs or entire rooms renovated. The Campesinos program exists to identify members of the community who need financial assistance and, wherever possible, are able to contribute labor. The group instructs them where and how to file for grants or other available funds to complete the rehabilitation project.

The only other program in the country that provides the same service is in Ridley, Calif., although other cities and non-profit groups around the country view the model as successful and are beginning to experiment with similar efforts, according to Campesinos. The group has been working with USDA on the program for 10 years.

“This is a truly unique and innovative community assistance program, and I hope it continues for many years to come,” said Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva of Campesinos’ efforts. “Federal and state financial assistance is only useful when the targeted population is able to access it, and Campesinos sin Fronteras is making that possible in a way that few groups are able to do. I applaud this effort wholeheartedly and look forward to seeing the results: happier homeowners, more livable neighborhoods, and a higher community standard of living.”

For more information, contact Nancy Ramirez with Campesinos sin Fronteras at (928) 627-6677 or (928) 627-1070.

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