External Resources and Other Funding Sources

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting applications from eligible entities to provide planning, training and technical assistance to rural communities for place-making activities to spur economic growth and community development.  USDA is making up to $3 million in cooperative agreement grants available under the Rural Place-making Innovation Challenge (RPIC).  Eligible entities may use the funds to help rural communities create plans to enhance capacity for broadband access, preserve historical and cultural structures or develop transportation, housing and recreational spaces. Public or private groups, organizations, or institutions that demonstrate experience in providing place-making technical assistance and administering federal grants are eligible to apply. USDA seeks to partner with at least one entity each located in the northeastern, southern, midwestern and western regions of the United States.  The maximum award for any one applicant is $250,000.  Applicants must provide a funding match of 15 percent. 

Electronic applications must be submitted via grants.gov by July 26, 2021, at 11:59 PM, EDT.  For more information contact: RD.RPIC@usda.gov or review Federal Register Notice RBS-21-CO-OP-0011.

The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) is pleased to announce it is launching the statewide rent and utility assistance, the Texas Rent Relief Program. The program will accept applications beginning Monday, February 15, at 8 a.m., Central Time.

TDHCA is holding two identical informational sessions on Friday, February 12, 2021, at noon and 3 p.m., Central Time. The sessions will provide general program information to landlords, apartment associations, Community Action Agencies, Council of Governments and any other interested associations or organizations interested in learning more about the program to share with their stakeholders.

Register at the following link to join the 12 p.m. (noon), Central Time, webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5202218733421377293.

Register at the following link to join the 3 p.m., Central Time, webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4817535898746438413.

After registering, attendees will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Program eligibility information is currently available at TexasRentRelief.com or by calling 1-833-9TX-RENT (1-833-989-7368) to speak with call center representatives. The call center is open Monday thru Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Assistance is available in multiple languages, including English, Spanish, Mandarin, Vietnamese and Korean.

Applicants can complete an application by phone or submitting an online application at TexasRentRelief.com starting 8 a.m. on Monday, February 15.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) Texas Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Program is now accepting applications under the second round of funding with more than $41 million available to replace or re-power vehicles configured to collect and transport municipal solid waste (refuse vehicles).  Eligible vehicles include Class 7 and 8 refuse vehicles powered by a diesel engine (model years 1992-2009).  Refuse vehicles may include garbage trucks, recycling trucks, roll-off trucks, dump trucks, grapple trucks and chipper trucks. An eligible refuse vehicle may be replaced or re-powered with a new all-electric, diesel, or alternative fuel vehicle or engine.  Refuse vehicles must be operated 51% of their annual mileage within one of the following priority areas:

 - Austin Area: Travis, Hays, Caldwell, Bastrop and Williamson counties
 - Bell County: Bell county
 - Beaumont-Port Arthur Area: Hardin, Jefferson and Orange counties
 - Dallas-Fort Worth Area: Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Hood, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, Rockwall, Tarrant and Wise counties
 - El Paso Area: El Paso county
 - Houston-Galveston-Brazoria Area: Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery and Waller counties
 - San Antonio Area: Bexar, Comal, Guadalupe, and Wilson counties

Applications will be accepted until 5:00 pm on October 8, 2020, or until all funds have been awarded.  Please see www.TexasVWFund.org or call toll free at 833-215-8989 with questions regarding the grant application process.

The Environmental Finance Center Network (EFCN) will be hosting a workshop on "Water System Finance and Effective Communication with Boards" on June 11, 2019.  This workshop will survey the basics of financial management of small water systems and provide tips for working with the board.  This workshop is ideal for individuals with only beginner knowledge of utility financial management, who are tasked with long-term asset maintenance and communicate directly with a board on utility finance matters.   

June 11, 2019: 8:00am - 3:30pm
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Region 5
2916 Teague Drive, Tyler, TX 75701
Register Online HERE

The UTSA Institute for Economic Development, in partnership with the South-West Texas Border SBDC Network, and the Southwest Trade Adjustment Assistance Center, is hosting the 10th Annual Texas Rural Challenge in New Braunfels, Texas.  The Texas Rural Challenge aims to connect rural leaders with local, state and federal resources, in order to create opportunities for economic growth by drawing on regional strengths. 

        June 17 - 18, 2019 at the New Braunfels Civic Center
        Register at www.texasrurualchallenge.org
        (Early Bird Discount rate expires on April 15, 2019)

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide webinar using ePER on streamlining and simplifying the process for small communities to gain improved access to funding from the USDA's Rural Utility Service for water and waste water infrastructure. Focus areas for this effort have included an interagency template for the Preliminary Engineering Report (PER), an application portal called RD Apply, and a software portal that automates the development of PERs for consulting engineers called the electronic Preliminary Engineering Report (ePER).

Thursday, April 19th - 12:00PM (CST)
Register HERE

The Texas Water Development Board's (TWDB) Water Loss Audit and Leak Detection Workshops available to retail public water suppliers across Texas. For additional information and to view upcoming workshops, please visit the TWDB's Water Loss Audit Resources webpage.

The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) is providing two webinar presentations in coordination with the Texas Workforce Commission to celebrate fair housing in Texas. The series will feature training sessions that are designed to introduce, add to, or refresh your general fair housing knowledge.

Tuesday April 17 - 2:00PM
Register HERE

The NADO Research Foundation has recently begun a partnership with the Environmental Finance Center Network to collaborate on the Smart Management for Small Water Systems Program.  The program, funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, provides free training and technical assistance to small public water systems in all fifty states and five territories.  These services are delivered through in-person workshops, webinars, and individualized technical assistance.

The Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) is accepting applications for its Targeted Small Grants Program until February 14, 2019.  The goal of this program is to stimulate fresh food retail development by helping healthy food retailers overcome higher costs and barriers to entry in low income and underserved communities across the country.  Eligible projects include those that expand or preserve the availability of staples and perishable foods in underserved areas and accept benefits under SNAP.  In general, grants range from $25,000 - $250,000.  A total of $1.4 million is available for Financial Assistance in this round. An additional $400,000 is available for Technical Assistance.  For additional information, please see the 2019 Request for Assistance.

 External Resource Links:

USDA Seeks Applications for Funding to Increase Access to E-Connectivity/Broadband in Unserved Rural Areas

Winter 2017 Integrity Bulletin: Key Components of Financial Management for CPD Grants

Previous Bulletins (HUD Website)

Web-based Instructional System for Environmental Reviews (WISER)

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) offers free workshops pertaining to Revised Total Coliform Rule

TX-PACE: An overview for Local Government Officials