The Rural Community Development Program Celebrates “Building Resilience Faster” During World Water Week 2021

August 25, 2021
| Lynda Perez, Director, Division of Community Discretionary and Demonstration Programs in the Office of Community Services
Drop of water

This week, we celebrate 2021 World Water Week Visit disclaimer page , a week-long event dedicated to developing concrete solutions to the world's greatest water-related challenges. The international event, with a focus this year on “Building Resilience Faster,” was created to leverage knowledge and convening power to strengthen water governance for a just, prosperous, and sustainable future.

As Dr. Lanikque Howard, the Director of the ACF Office of Community Services, has noted, “Water is essential to life, and access to clean drinking water should be a human right.” That’s why ACF programs like the Rural Community Development (RCD) program, are essential to the social, economic, and environmental health of our nation’s communities and the well-being of their residents.

As I advocate for healthy, equitable, and safe communities in my work within the Office of Community Services, and as I lead the implementation of the RCD program, I am proud of the work we do to help our nation’s smallest, most remote communities, made up predominately of residents with incomes below the federal poverty level, obtain and maintain clean and sufficient drinking water and wastewater treatment services and systems.

I am pleased and honored to share a series of inspiring videos demonstrating how the RCD program has helped the rural communities of New Boston, Ohio; Magnolia, Mississippi; Hobson, Virginia; and the Colorado River Indian Tribes improve and protect the health and quality of life of their residents.

The videos are available on the RCD website at https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ocs/programs/rcd.

The urgent need for the services that the RCD program provides and the value the program delivers is evident in these moving stories. As I watch the videos, I’m inspired and motivated by the words of Deb Martin, Community Development Director for Great Lakes Community Action Partnership: “What the Rural Community Development funds really do is allow communities like New Boston to have hope.”

About the RCD Program

RCD is one of six programs within the Office of Community Services (OCS) that is dedicated to reducing the causes and consequences of poverty, increasing opportunity and the economic security of individuals and families, and revitalizing communities. RCD is the only federal program that primarily focuses on the nation’s poorest, most rural locations, including unincorporated areas and tribal areas that need training and technical assistance on creating and maintaining safe and affordable water and wastewater treatment systems.

Many of these communities have populations at or below 2,500 individuals with no clean water systems and/or no access to existing water systems. Regional Training and Technical Assistance grants and Tribal Training and Technical Assistance grants provide a resource to ensure that small communities have access to safe water systems by helping them develop their own systems, connect to systems in neighboring communities, or improve their existing systems.

To learn more about the RCD program, please visit: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ocs/programs/rcd.

To learn more about OCS’s other programs, including the new Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP), which helps households with low income pay their water and wastewater bills, please visit: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ocs.

To learn more about OCS’ celebration of World Water Week, programs, see: LIHWAP World Water Week FY2021 | The Administration for Children and Families (hhs.gov).

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