Small Business Administration Expands Rural HUBZones
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Development (RD); and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are collaborating to increase economic development in rural areas. SBA has expanded its Historically Underutilized Business (HUBZone) Program map to include additional rural counties. These efforts are aimed at fostering economic development in underserved and economically challenged rural areas by promoting entrepreneurship and community development. Rural funders investing in economic development partnerships in these Zones should be aware of the benefits available to small businesses in their communities, especially those owned by an Indian Tribal Government, an Alaska Native Corporation, a Community Development Corporation, a Native Hawaiian Organization, or a Small Agricultural Cooperative.
Federal Health Benefits Extended to Veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom
Veterans who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom or in the Southwest Asia Theater of Operations and other locations may now be entitled to compensation for medical conditions presumed to be related to exposure to fine particulate matter. Many philanthropies have supported veterans advocacy organizations that have fought hard for this designation. On April 25, the Department of Veterans Affairs encouraged veterans and survivors who believe they may be eligible for compensation for conditions, such as asthma and rare respiratory cancers that have emerged within a 10-year period after separation from military service, to file a claim for benefits.
Emergency Food and Shelter Funding for the Southern U.S. Border Now Available
The National Board for the Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) is charged by Congress with oversight of the EFSP. The EFSP is currently awarding $150 million to state government facilities, as well as local nonprofit and governmental organizations, that have been assisting people encountered by the Department of Homeland Security at the southern U.S. border with shelter, food, and supportive services. Awards, including reimbursements, are available to organizations addressing humanitarian needs, such as life-sustaining food and shelter expenses. Local nonprofit and governmental organizations must submit applications to the program’s local boards. To find a local board, contact EFSP or call National Board Member United Way Worldwide at (703) 706-9660.
2023 Budget Proposal Will Speed Up CDBG's Disaster Funding Process
Many philanthropic funders are aware that federal disaster funds through the Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Relief program, administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, do not arrive speedily to devastated communities after natural disasters like floods, hurricanes, and wildfires. Unlike other federal disaster programs, such as through FEMA, HUD does not have money to quickly send out to states when disaster strikes. Congress must pass a supplemental appropriation to fill the fund when needed. This means that new grant processes and regulations must be written each time the money is appropriated. The time from disaster event to availability of funds can drag on for a year before impacted communities see the money for rebuilding and recovery.
In the Administration’s 2023 budget, President Biden proposed changes to speed up the flow of these monies to states by making the 30-year-old CDBG-DR program permanent. This would require HUD to establish consistent regulatory requirements for CDBG-DR across all future disasters, eliminating the current practice of establishing new requirements in response to each supplemental appropriation. These new rules would also emphasize assistance to disadvantaged communities and resilience priorities to better withstand future disasters. There is bipartisan support for the idea.
Funders familiar with the situation are encouraged to share stories with their Members of Congress that illustrate the hardships to their communities by the prolonged delay in receiving federal disaster recovery funds.