CARSON CITY, NV (KXNT) – Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Thursday announced that USDA invested in nearly 400 projects to provide essential services for more than 7 million people in rural areas across the country in Fiscal Year 2017.

Staff from the Community Chest in Fernley, Nevada, have new offices, which were funded by a  $375,000 Direct Loan from USDA Rural Development.

“Partnering with our small towns and cities to support essential services that rural residents need is one way USDA is facilitating prosperity in rural America,” Perdue said. “USDA’s investments will help communities significantly improve their schools, hospitals and public safety facilities, and improve the quality of life,” Perdue said.

USDA infused $1.5 billion into rural areas in 2017, including some in Nevada. This was done through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program for projects such as schools, libraries, municipal centers, first responder cars and equipment, social service buildings, recreational activities and other community needs. These investments are helping nearly 7 million rural residents.

In Nevada, USDA Rural Development has announced that Community Chest of Storey County has received a $375,000 Direct Loan from the Community Facility program to purchase and renovate a new office in Fernley, located at 415 U.S. Highway 95A South.

“I am proud to see our agency funding work to help build and sustain strong families and communities in such a direct way,” said USDA Rural Development State Director Phil Cowee. “This is an agency that educates youth, provides counseling, and helps with job placement. They are passionate about their work, and we are proud to help them succeed,” Cowee said.

The interior of the building, which was previously a beauty salon, is now a bright, cheerful open office, with lots of space ina a comfortable and professional setting.

The small staff of five had been renting an 80 square foot office space, but now have expanded operations to include a classroom for youth education, multiple private offices for counseling, a computer kiosk for job searches, and a thrift store and food bank.

Community Chest is a non-profit agency that has served Storey, Lyon and Nye County children and families since 1991, providing a variety of counseling programs, education and mentoring and employment placement services. With the help of volunteers, agency staff, and public and private revenues, Community Chest develops, offers, and sponsors services that provide a family support network.

Erik Schoen, Community Chest Director said the expanded space provided by the purchase of the building is the difference between night and day. “This will allow us the opportunity to provide blended services, mental health, education, case management, employment training, and more all under one roof. We were only able to see approximately 15 clients a month in our old office space, and now, the sky’s the limit!, Schoen said.

For more information on the USDA Rural Development Community Facility Program contact Program Director Cheryl Couch at 775-887-1222 Ext. 4760. For information on Community Chest call Erik Schoen 775-847-9311.

In April 2017, President Donald Trump established the Inter agency Task Force on Agriculture and
Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump, which included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements, business development, housing, community services such as schools, public safety and health care, and high-speed internet access in rural area. For more information, visit http://www.rd.usda.gov.

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