Event is May 23 in local office

Mauricio Julian Cuellar Jr., Alice Echo-News Journal

Representatives of the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development will be holding an Office Day for residents of Jim Wells County on May 23 to provide information, assist with applications, and answer questions regarding the housing, community and business programs offered by the agency.

The event will be held at the USDA Service Center in Alice, which is located at 2287 N. Texas Blvd., Suite 1, from 10 am to 12 p.m.

Housing Programs that are offered by USDA Rural Development include the Guaranteed Housing Loan Program, Direct Housing Loan Program, Home Repair and Rehabilitation Grant Program and the Self-Help Housing and Technical Assistance Program. Assistance is available to low- and moderate-income families that live in rural areas.

"We usually hold Office Days every fourth Wednesday of the month, to give citizens an opportunity to come in and receive help filling out their paperwork," Alice Rural Development Manager Lisa Kelley said.

The USDA often assists applicants with their paperwork, but because of the workload they experience throughout the month, setting aside one morning to help answer questions from the public is an economical way to help the most people possible.

Eleven counties in the area will hold an Office Day for the public, including Kleberg and Duval counties.

Kelley said that normally, the Alice office sees anywhere from eight to 10 people locally on Office Day, but she wants to encourage those who need help filling out their paperwork, or who have questions concerning what items fall under Rural Development, to take the time to come in.

USDA Rural Development's Community Programs are designed to enhance the growth and economic opportunities of rural areas by providing the means for construction, expansion, or enhancement of community facilities, telecommunication and distance education programs, and water and waste disposal systems. Since 2001, USDA Rural Development's Community Programs have awarded $2.3 billion for these purposes, and touched the lives of more than 1.7 million rural households in the process. Entrepreneurship plays a vital role in the economic stability of rural Texas.

With USDA Rural Development's Business and Cooperative Programs, rural businesses can gain access funds that normally would not be available to them. With the help of the Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan Program, Rural Business Enterprise Grant Program, Rural Business Opportunity Grant Program, and the Cooperative Development Grant and Technical Assistance Program, businesses and cooperatives in rural areas can increase the economic opportunities in rural areas throughout Texas.

USDA Rural Development strives to ensure that rural citizens can participate fully in the global economy by providing technical assistance, funding, and other programs that help rural Americans build strong economies to improve their quality of life. For further information, county residents can contact the local office at 664-0455, ext. 4, or visit them on the web at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/tx/.