U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann says Hamilton County and six other East Tennessee counties are among those eligible for an additional $150 million in federal grants to help with their recovery from flooding in February and March.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Community Facilities Program is making the funds available to further assist areas impacted by natural disasters.
In addition to Hamilton, projects in East Tennessee's Anderson, Campbell, Morgan, Roane, Scott and Union counties are eligible for the funding.
"Earlier this year, East Tennessee was devastated by record flooding," said Fleischman, an Ooltewah Republican, in a news release. "Almost immediately, the true nature of the Volunteer spirit was shown as neighbors and local leaders united to help one another with response and recovery efforts."
He added that although "time has passed, significant damage remains, and we must continue to do all we can to provide relief. I greatly appreciate USDA Rural Housing Service Administrator Bruce Lammers and the team at USDA for recognizing the need for continued aid in our communities."
According to USDA, grant applications will be accepted at USDA state offices until all funding has been allocated.
Tennessee Rural Development State Director Jim Tracy in an agency release called it "imperative that our rural communities receive the relief necessary to continue on with everyday life. Our agency stands with efforts to implement long-term recovery following natural disasters."
Besides Hamilton, other area counties on the USDA Community Facilities list of FEMA-declared disaster include Rhea, Bledsoe, Coffee, Marion, Sequatchie, Van Buren and Warren.
The $150 million is included in the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act that President Donald Trump signed into law on June 6. Grants may be used for relief in areas affected by Hurricanes Michael and Florence, wildfires in 2018 and other natural disasters where the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has issued a Major Disaster Declaration and assigned a FEMA disaster recovery number.
Grant applications will be accepted at USDA state offices on a continual basis until funds are exhausted. Grant assistance will be provided on a graduated scale. Smaller communities with the lowest median household income are eligible for a higher proportion of grant funds.
More than 100 types of projects are eligible for Community Facilities funding. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations and federally recognized Native American tribes. Projects must be in eligible rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less.
Contact Andy Sher at email@example.com or 615-255-0550. Follow him on Twitter @AndySher1.