USDA Rural Development Acting State Director Darla Buckman announced Thursday the agency is accepting applications for grants to help low- and very-low-income rural residents repair their homes.USDA’s Rural Development Housing Preservation Grant Program provides financial assistance to sponsoring organizations to assist in the repair and/or rehabilitation of single-family and rental residences located in rural communities.“The availability of affordable housing in our rural areas continues to be a major factor which contributes to economic development. Many times, with certain repairs, existing rural homes can continue to be a valuable asset to Kansas families and their communities,” Buckman said. “USDA Rural Development’s Housing Preservation Grant Program can ultimately provide financial assistance to eligible owners to make necessary repairs to these homes.”Grants can be used to weatherize and repair existing structures, install or improve plumbing or provide access to people with disabilities.Eligible sponsors who would administer the grant funds can include state agencies, units of local government, Native American tribes, and nonprofit organizations.The Agency’s Housing Preservation Grant Program also can provide assistance to rental property owners to repair and/or rehabilitate their units providing the owners agree to make such units available to very-low and low-income families.USDA Rural Development’s Housing Preservation Grant Program provides assistance to residential projects located in communities with a maximum population of 20,000.USDA Rural Development may award up to $10 million in competitive grants through this notice. The grants to be awarded are part of USDA Rural Development’s annual budget and are not funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.Applications are due by the close of business July 10. Applications may be accessed electronically at www.grants.gov.For further information on rural programs, interested parties may call the agency’s state headquarters at (785) 271-2700 or log onto the state’s USDA Rural Development Web site at www.rurdev.usda.gov/ks. USDA Rural Development – Committed to the Future of Rural Communities.