New grant funds for three states boost rural development

Rural Capacity Building Grant award locationsAs the result of a recent federal grant, MHP staff are preparing for work in three rural US communities: Osage County, Oklahoma, the Lakes & Pines Region of E. Central Minnesota, and Bowman and Golden Valley counties in North Dakota. All three communities, which have undertaken extensive planning and strategizing, are poised to implement a wide variety of development projects under the grant.

“The grant will enable the communities to translate their plans into action and implement strategies that yield actual development and housing on the ground.” -Rosemary Fagrelius, Community Development Director at MHP

The work to be completed in northeastern Oklahoma will be in collaboration with The Pawhuska Indian Village, which plans to develop more energy-efficient and culturally relevant housing and create greater food sovereignty through community-supported agriculture.

The Lakes & Pines community, which was one of the Minnesota’s hardest hit regions in the recession, is planning to create more rental housing and to implement a single-family home improvement rehab program.

In light of rapid growth since the oil boom of the mid-2000s, Bowman and Golden Valley counties want to diversify the local economy outside the oil and gas industries to ensure the economic stability of the region. Local agencies plan to increase access to affordable homeownership, for the benefit of residents and the region.

ND Crew Camp Housing.
“Crew camp” housing scatters the northwestern North Dakota landscape as a temporary solution to population swells since the oil boom. Photo taken by Capacity Building Manager, Bill Vanderwall.

MHP has a history working with each of the recipient communities, which will help kick-start these new activities. MHP staff have worked with a number of agencies in Lakes & Pines through MHP’s Housing Institute, and in North Dakota through work with the groundbreaking Vision West initiative. Work with the Osage Nation builds on MHP’s longstanding partnerships within the American Indian community, most notably with members of the Pine Ridge and Rosebud reservations. MHP staff look forward to the work ahead and the opportunity to continue supporting the growth and success of rural communities nationwide.