USDA Rural Development State Director Terry Brunner hosted four events to highlight the economic development and community successes achieved in Anthony, New Mexico by growing a better rural economy through expanded business and housing opportunities and providing better infrastructure.
The successes have been made possible through a concerted effort by USDA Rural Development to combat poverty in rural communities. The effort is part of the StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity initiative created in 2010 by USDA.
“Two years ago we came to Anthony and brought together a wide variety of organizations and people to introduce them to the Strike Force concept and what USDA can do for their community. Since then we have seen some great partnerships develop resulting in life-changing projects for Anthony residents.” said Brunner. He added, “Today’s caravan is aimed to highlight the work that has been done and its impact. From the ground up, Rural Development and its partners are helping to bring substantial change and opportunity for Anthony residents.”
The goal of the StrikeForce initiative is to create investment in rural communities through outreach and creating new partnerships with organizations and strengthening partnerships with entities that have worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the past.
To highlight the successes that have been made in the last two years the “StrikeForce caravan of events” was held in Anthony, New Mexico to celebrate the expanded partnerships with various entities to bring a better lifestyle to this community of 9,500 residents.
Anthony, New Mexico is one of numerous areas designated as a Colonia that borders the U.S./Mexico border. Many of the Colonias have high poverty rates and not much infrastructure. The poverty rate in Anthony is currently at 35.8% and traditionally the community lacked the infrastructure needed to grow and develop. In recent years USDA Rural Development through its various programs helped Anthony grow by providing funds to make water and wastewater improvements and the building of many homes and apartments. In 2010, Anthony was incorporated and became a city because of its growth and need for local services.
The first StrikeForce event was held to celebrate the recent completion of construction of a new water well and filtration system which will expand water services with more and healthier water for the community. The multi-million dollar funding for the project was made possible by USDA Rural Development and other agencies to the Anthony Water and Sanitation District.
The second event saw residents participating in a homebuyer education training session sponsored by the Southwest Regional Housing and Community Development Corporation. The organization is a new StrikeForce partner that works to help families become homeowners. They offer counseling on how to become credit worthy and qualify for home loans through USDA Rural Development’s housing program.
At the third stop Brunner presented a $50,000 certificate of obligation to the Rio Grande Council of Governments. The COG will use the funding to provide technical services to help small businesses expand and grow. The event was held at the Anthony Tire Shop where the owners will be given guidance on how to expand the business.
The final stop saw Brunner give Tierra Del Sol Housing Corporation two certificates of obligation to provide housing opportunities to residents through the self-help program and also provide funds to help renovate several homes owned by the elderly. The event was held to honor Tierra Del Sol for its long time business partnership with USDA Rural Development. Over the years hundreds of families throughout southern New Mexico have benefited by becoming homeowners through the partnership.