Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack this week announced that recipients in 45 states, the Western Pacific and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico will receive grants to make housing repairs and improve housing conditions for limited income rural residents. Acting Under Secretary for Rural Development Doug O\u2019Brien announced the selections on Secretary Vilsack\u2019s behalf.\r\n\r\n\u201cProviding safe, reliable housing to rural residents is key to maintaining stable communities and creating jobs,\u201d O\u2019Brien said. \u201cUSDA has developed strategic partnerships with Tribes, community organizations and nonprofit groups to improve the living conditions for thousands of rural residents.\u201d\r\n\r\nFunding is being provided through USDA Rural Development\u2019s Housing Preservation Grant program. Funds are provided to intermediaries such as local governments, public agencies, federally-recognized Indian Tribes, and nonprofit, faith-based and community organizations. These organizations then distribute the grants to homeowners and owners of multi-family rental properties or cooperative dwellings who rent to low- and very-low-income residents. Funds are not directly provided to eligible homeowners by USDA.\r\n\r\nGrants may be used to make general repairs, such as installing or improving plumbing, or providing or enhancing access to people with disabilities. Funds may also be used to make homes more energy efficient.