Rural Connections Blog
Social Security touches the lives of nearly every American. Millions count on us —retirees who worked hard their whole lives, people no longer able to work due to disability, dependents, and survivors. As members of the Rural Partners Network, we want to continue reaching out to rural communities. We make it easy for rural community leaders to help others access our programs and services. Our website offers a convenient way to apply for benefits online.
Each of our nation’s Veterans has a story… and their physical health is only one chapter. That’s why VA pursues a personalized Whole Health approach that addresses the full range of factors impacting Veterans’ health, well-being and overall quality of life.
But for nearly five million Veterans in rural communities, several challenges, such as travel limitations and provider shortages, make it difficult or impossible to access the preventive care crucial for Whole Health.
The Rural Partners Network is helping rural communities create more desirable, livable, and economically viable communities. One strategy is to link rural community projects to multiple funders to “stack” capital. Here’s an example from John Day, Oregon.
After more than three decades of population decline, this remote town of fewer than 2,000 has taken on a “growth mindset” for both their citizenry and economy.
In 2019, they worked with the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to host a Regional Economic Development Summit (REDS) that brought together local, state, federal, nonprofits, utilities and higher education. They assessed challenges, investment opportunities, and priorities to upgrade housing, broadband, and recreational amenities – all needed to retain and attract families while creating economic opportunities. Local leaders made lasting connections with funders that continue to benefit local projects.
It’s been a busy month for our team and the communities currently under consideration for RPN. We drove a lot of miles to meet rural leaders on their turf and discuss how RPN can help them elevate local priorities and jump-start projects.
We were inspired by the engaged, innovative, and diverse rural people who showed up at the in-person meetings, as well as those unable to attend in person but who joined a virtual meeting instead.
In April 2022, Rural Development launched the Rural Partners Network (RPN) to give rural communities equitable access to federal funds and opportunities. The RPN is a first-ever, government-wide collaboration of more than 20 federal agencies working together to address gaps in programming, elevate rural issues with decision makers, and create more opportunities for rural people to thrive. This is a tall order to fill, and the progress we achieved so far is making a difference.