Land-of-Sky gets rural, housing-related grant

Land-of-Sky Regional Council of Asheville received a grant of $50,700 from USDA Rural Development’s Rural Community Development Initiative Program, Congressman Heath Shuler (D-Waynesville) announced today. The grant money is dedicated to providing Land-of-Sky resources to help train and bolster the work of local organizations that offer housing support to those in need. The grant will allow Land-of-Sky to provide training and technical aid such as financial planning, strategic planning, and sustainability.

“Regional Councils such as Land-of-Sky are critical to the economic growth and success of our local communities.  Our mountain communities are better because of the work they do. I applaud Land-of-Sky for tackling tough issues in our region, such as housing,” said Congressman Shuler. “Only 31 of these grants were awarded, and to only 18 states. I am proud that one of these valuable and sought-after grant awards is coming to Western North Carolina.”

“These funds support USDA’s partnership with rural America to bring increased economic opportunity to rural citizens and communities,” Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said. “They will serve as investments that will help organizations build the capacity and expertise of local nonprofit groups.”

“From first review of the USDA – RCDI grant program, we recognized that it was a perfect fit for the Asheville Regional Housing Consortium and Land-of-Sky area,” said Asheville Regional Housing Consortium Vice Chair, Mark Burrows. “This project will assist our smaller, more rural affordable housing non-profits better meet their community’s needs by providing strong technical assistance focused around organization development, project management and capacity building for workforce housing.”

Land-of-Sky is one of 17 regional councils in North Carolina.  It serves Buncombe, Henderson, Madison and Transylvania counties with a mission to:  “work with local governments, the Region’s leadership, state and federal agencies, service providers, and volunteers to foster desirable social, economic, cultural and ecological conditions in Buncombe, Henderson, Madison and Transylvania Counties.”

USDA Rural Development oversees and directs more than 40 housing, business, infrastructure and facilities programs intended to advance the economic stability of rural communities.  Rural Development has a current commitment of more than $127 billion in loan guarantees and loans. 

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About Margaret Williams
Editor Margaret Williams first wrote for Xpress in 1994. An Alabama native, she has lived in Western North Carolina since 1987 and completed her Masters of Liberal Arts & Sciences from UNC-Asheville in 2016. Follow me @mvwilliams

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