WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Representative Mike Bost (IL-12) today introduced legislation to expand access to emergency funding for rural areas. The Emergency Rural Community Relief Act would allow rural communities with fewer than 20,000 residents to utilize USDA Community Facility Program grants in times of emergency to operate community essential facilities, including the construction of temporary drive thru COVID-19 testing sites and personal protective equipment disposal locations.

“The COVID-19 shutdown has strained the resources of our rural communities in Southern Illinois,” said Bost. “By expanding access to critical federal funding, these communities will be able to continue providing necessary emergency services and establish additional COVID-19 testing centers to help keep residents safe and healthy.”

Currently, the Community Facility Program grants can only be used to construct essential facilities in rural communities. The Emergency Rural Community Relief Act allows the grants to be used for operational expenses as well.