Federal Aid May Be Available In Las Cruces For Victims Of Extreme Cold

Las Cruces – USDA Rural Development New Mexico State Director Terry Brunner announced today financial aid is available to help individuals, communities and utilities address the implications of recent winter storms in rural New Mexico.

"We've all seen the negative effect of the recent storm system. Utilities are coping with broken pipes and lines, community facilities have been damaged and homeowners have seen a variety of problems," said Brunner. He added, "We have several programs that could help address these issues and we stand ready to assist rural New Mexicans during this challenging time."

Telecommunication and Electric Cooperatives have access to normal lines of credit through the USDA Rural Utilities Service to repair system damages. The USDA Rural Utilities Service encourages those with outstanding RUS debt to reach out to the agency and request assistance to bring their system back on line as quickly as possible. Other eligible utility applicants may seek expedited funding requests from Rural Development.

Water systems, such as municipal systems and mutual domestic water associations, in communities of 10,000 or less can apply for USDA's Emergency Community Water Assistance Grants if they have current environmental and engineering documents. These grants can cover a variety of issues including a decrease in water quality and replacement of lines and other equipment.

Communities with populations less than 20,000 can apply for USDA loans and grants for repair to their community infrastructure through the USDA Rural Development Community Facilities program. This includes: community buildings, medical facilities, emergency equipment, and roads.

Low income homeowners in communities of 10,000 or less may apply for low interest home repair loans and grants to fix their home, weatherize, purchase heating systems and repair utilities connections. The maximum allowed through the grant program is $7,500 and the maximum loan available is $20,000 at one percent interest.

For more information on these programs contact the nearest USDA Rural Development office.

Aztec Area Office 505-334-3090 Extension 4

Las Cruces Area Office 575-522-8775 Extension 4

Las Vegas Sub-Office 505-425-3594 Extension 4

Los Lunas Area Office 505-865-4643 Extension 4

Roswell Sub-Office 575-622-8745