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Thursday, April 17, 2014

$50K grant is awarded to renovate elderly facility

Catholic Social Service’s Liheng apartment complex in Mangilao, Guam. (Contributed photo) HILO, Hawaii—State Director for USDA Rural Development Chris Kanazawa announced that the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Agana, also known as Catholic Social Service, is the recipient of a $50,000 grant award from USDA Rural Development. The award was made available through the highly competitive, Housing Preservation Grant program from RD.

Catholic Social Service will use the grant to repair and rehabilitate the Liheng apartment complex in Mangilao, Guam. The Liheng apartment complex is a two-story, eight-unit facility with each unit consisting of a two-bedroom, one bath layout. Wheelchair accessible apartments for the elderly population ages 55 and above is also available. Social workers from CSS provide assistance to the tenants of Liheng.

The $50,000 USDA grant will be combined with $27,500 from CSS for renovation and improvement projects for the Liheng apartment complex.

“The Obama Administration is working to ensure that rural homeowners have safe, sanitary, energy-efficient places to live, and USDA is working with community organizations and non-profit groups such as CSS to make needed repairs to critically needed facilities like Liheng,” Kanazawa stated. “It is invigorating to know that RD funds will be utilized to assist residents of Liheng with a better quality of life with improved facilities.”

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Agana, known more commonly as Catholic Social Service, is a faith-based, non-profit social services organization established in 1979. The mission at Catholic Social Service is to encourage the development of the spiritual, intellectual, economic, and social well-being of families, persons with disabilities, abused adults and children, the elderly, the homeless and others in need of services.

According to CSS executive director Diane Calvo, “Catholic Social Service is excited to begin its partnership with USDA Rural Development in the implementation of a Section 533 Housing Preservation Grant to repair and rehabilitate housing earmarked for low income families, including elderly and individuals with disabilities. The Housing Preservation Grant will enable Catholic Social Service to improve the infrastructure of a well-used complex and allow us to continue the sheltering assistance in an upgraded home environment.”

The HPG program provides grants to sponsoring organizations for the repair or rehabilitation of low- and very low-income housing.  The grants are competitive and are made available in areas where there is a concentration of need. Those assisted must own very low- or low-income housing, either as homeowners, landlords, or members of a cooperative.

For fiscal year 2013, a little over $4.2 million was made available for competitive grant applications through the HPG.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $172 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. (USDA)

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