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Rural Resources and Strategies for COVID-19

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is currently impacting people around the globe and the situation is changing rapidly. The health and safety of the people in rural communities and our staff and partners throughout the Pacific Northwest are our top priority. We are closely following the recommendations and updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other trusted sources regarding COVID-19. To be responsive to the threat of this global pandemic, we are implementing measures to help reduce the spread of germs, and are following the CDC guidelines for preventing and slowing the spread of illness. 

At this time, we are considering alternate delivery methods and meeting formats for RDI programs and other initiatives that are currently in progress. If you are already registered for an RDI rural leadership or economy building program, we will be following up with you on an individual basis. The scheduling of all future initiatives is temporarily postponed through April.  

We feel ever more sure that what is vitally important are our communities and our connections. If you haven’t already, we invite you to Join our PNW Rural Action Network  (currently housed on Facebook).  We will be posting updates and information about resources and strategies specific to the support of rural people, organizations, and economies. We encourage you to pay attention, track, and share the impacts of this global epidemic on our smaller places. RDI will be asked about how it is impacting rural, and we would love to be able to share your first hand stories.

Resources & Information

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation announced emergency loans through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to help small businesses and nonprofits keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn.

USDA’s COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide

USDA is offering grants for projects that assist in the development, coordination, and expansion of domestic farmers markets, roadside stands, community‐supported agriculture programs, agritourism activities, and other direct producer‐to‐consumer market opportunities.

USDA’s ReConnect Pilot Program has a new application deadline of 4/15/20 for loans and grants to provide funds to construct, improve, or acquire facilities and equipment needed to provide broadband service in eligible rural areas.

USDA Rural Development launched a COVID-19 resource page with updates to help rural residents, businesses, and communities impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Small Business Administration funding is now available for businesses in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and other states impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Employer Paid Leave Requirements

RDI is a member of the Rural Network; click here to read the network’s letter to Members of Congress, which requests robust emergency supplemental funding for USDA-Rural Development Programs.

Resources for Oregon

In the effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, Oregon Health Authority is sharing information for Oregonians on how to stay safe and save lives.

RDI wrote to petition the members of the Oregon legislature’s Joint Special Committee on Coronavirus Response to consider the specific and unique impact of the coronavirus pandemic on rural Oregon communities. Click here to read the testimony. 

Coronavirus Resources for Nonprofits from the Nonprofit Association of Oregon

The Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs can help minority small businesses in identifying appropriate sources of financing for COVID-19 challenges.

Coronavirus Financial Resources for Businesses from Business Oregon

Small Business Emergency Loan Fund for Lane County, OR, Administered by Community LendingWorks

Oregon RAIN Virtual Workshop Series and Entrepreneur Support Meetings

From the Oregonian, as coronavirus spreads, Oregon’s rural counties have the same concerns but fewer resources. 

Resources for Washington

Washington Department of Commerce Crisis Planning Tools & Resources

Coronavirus Response Resources for Nonprofits from Washington Nonprofits