Delgado, Gillibrand Urge Congress To Provide Direct Relief To New York’s Rural Communities Struggling To Respond To COVID-19 Pandemic

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From the office of Congressman Antonio Delgado:

The Push for Robust and Direct Funding Comes as Rural Communities Are Losing Resources Due to COVID-19 Outbreak and Struggling to Access Economic Support Through the CARES Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congressman Antonio Delgado (NY-19) and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) urged Congress to include robust funding for rural communities in the next coronavirus relief package. Rural communities often operate on very thin margins and the coronavirus pandemic has caused these already struggling communities to lose valuable resources as they continue to operate with diminished sales tax returns, an abandoned tourism industry, and closures across nearly all retail sectors. Additionally, rural communities have difficulty accessing federal funds because they must rely on competitive grant programs to receive funding. Congressman Delgado and Senator Gillibrand requested robust rural funding and the consideration of direct payments to small towns and counties to address their unique needs and support communities of all sizes throughout this public health and economic crisis. The push is based on framework from their Rebuild Rural America Act which would establish a dedicated stream of federal funding for rural communities and provide guaranteed, multi-year, flexible block grants to support regional economic growth. Minority Leader Schumer has proposed this framework to provide at least $50 billion in direct relief to small towns and rural communities in the next coronavirus relief package. 

“New York’s 19th Congressional District is the eighth most rural district in the House of Representatives and our communities are facing acute needs during the coronavirus outbreak. I’m working alongside our local officials to support their response to this public health emergency and I continue to hear from local officials across upstate about the need for direct federal funding that will ensure that our local governments do not need to compete for funding to continue providing vital services,” said Rep. Antonio Delgado. “The Rebuild Rural proposal is a roadmap to make sure we are empowering our small towns to make investments where they need it most, and highlights the different ways that the federal government could support communities that do not have the resources to apply for federal grants. I appreciate the Senator’s shared commitment to our rural communities. We will continue to work together to advance this urgently needed proposal for the health and well-being of our towns, villages, and hamlets across upstate.”

“Rural communities are at the heart of Upstate New York, and their survival is key to helping our state, and our nation, recover from this devastating public health crisis,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The challenges that rural communities face, especially during this pandemic, demand direct and comprehensive solutions. We have to reimagine how the federal government invests in rural communities — direct financial funding provided in the Rebuild Rural proposal is crucial to helping these communities respond and rebuild. I’m proud to work with Congressman Delgado to strengthen and empower New York’s rural communities.”

Federal grant funding is often inaccessible to rural communities and too inflexible to fully meet local financial needs. This makes it difficult for rural communities and small towns to respond to the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus and implement comprehensive plans to rebuild. The Rebuild Rural proposal would establish a dedicated stream of federal funding for rural communities to help them during this challenging time. This would give our rural communities the funding and flexibility needed to ensure rural residents have access to vital public safety, emergency management, and temporary assistance.

Full text of the letter can be found here

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