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Rural Community Recovery Program (RCRP)

The Rural Community Recovery Program (RCRP) is a one-time $10 million fund to provide grants topolitical subdivisions to build strong, healthy communities through investment in neighborhoods across Nebraska. Projects must be located in a rural county that has been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Projects will address and repurpose vacant or abandoned properties for the installation of neighborhood features to promote improved health and safety outcomes or site development of future affordable housing.

The Rural Community Recovery Program is established by the Nebraska Legislature in Laws 2023, LB1412, section 254(6), pursuant to the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA).

Eligibility Information

Eligible Projects

RCRP funds will be awarded for rehabilitation or adaptive reuse projects designed to address vacant, abandoned, or deteriorated (VAD) properties. Research shows that VAD properties may pose an environmental hazard to the community and environment and present a barrier to economic recovery and the production of affordable housing. Addressing these properties will improve the neighborhood built environment and revitalize communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

Eligible project types include:

  • Installation of Public Features: Projects that install neighborhood features for public use, increase access to healthy foods, conduct neighborhood cleanup, or revitalize public spaces, will improve residents’ physical and mental well-being, promote healthier living environments by allowing for safe and accessible recreation, encourage investment in the neighborhood, increase community engagement, and may provide access to fresh, healthy food. Examples include public parks, playgrounds, community gardens, green spaces, or other similar publicly available amenities.
  • Site Development for Affordable Housing: Projects that intend to conduct pre-development activities for current or future affordable housing will mitigate blight of VAD properties in the neighborhood, invest in safe, quality housing in the community, and build momentum for future development of affordable housing units in the community. For the purpose of this program, “affordable housing” is not specifically defined; required rent and income limits for the other funding source(s) will apply to the housing units.

Eligible projects will permit activities pertaining to the rehabilitation or adaptive reuse of VAD properties in communities in disproportionately impacted rural counties, limited to the following:

  1. Rehabilitation, renovation, maintenance, or costs to secure vacant or abandoned properties to reduce their negative impact.
  2. Costs associated with acquiring and securing legal title of vacant or abandoned properties and other costs to position the property for current or future productive use.
  3. Removal and remediation of environmental contaminants or hazards from vacant or abandoned properties, when conducted in compliance with applicable environmental laws or regulations.
  4. Demolition or deconstruction of vacant or abandoned buildings (including residential, commercial, or industrial buildings) paired with greening or other lot improvements as part of a strategy for neighborhood revitalization.
  5. Greening or cleanup of vacant lots, as well as other efforts to make vacant lots safer for the surrounding community.
  6. Installation of neighborhood features for public use, such as parks, green spaces, recreation facilities, sidewalks, pedestrian safety features like crosswalks, projects that increase access to healthy good like community gardens, streetlights, neighborhood cleanup, and other projects to revitalize public spaces, to promote physical and mental well-being and promote healthier living environments by allowing for safe and accessible recreation.
  7. Conversion of vacant or abandoned properties to affordable housing.
  8. Inspection fees and other administrative costs incurred to ensure compliance with applicable environmental laws and regulations for demolition, greening, or other remediation activities.

Eligible Applicants 

Funds will be awarded only to eligible political subdivisions, including villages, cities, counties, school districts, public power districts, community colleges, natural resource districts, and all other units of local government, located in a disproportionately impacted rural county in Nebraska.

Disproportionately impacted communities or populations are those that experienced significant, negative public health or economic outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic. To be classified as disproportionately impacted, pre-existing disparities were amplified as a result of the pandemic, causing more severe impacts in underserved communities.

DED has determined that 41 of Nebraska’s 91 counties are part of this disproportionately impacted and rural classification and are therefore eligible for the Rural Community Recovery Program.

Political subdivisions within communities in the following counties are eligible to apply:


Arthur County Franklin County Morrill County
Boone County Frontier County Nemaha County
Box Butte County Gage County Pawnee County
Boyd County Garden County Phelps County
Brown County Greeley County Polk County
Butler County Harlan County Red Willow County
Cherry County Holt County Richardson County
Cheyenne County Hooker County Scotts Bluff County
Custer County Howard County Sherman County
Dakota County Jefferson County Valley County
Dawes County Kimball County Wayne County
Deuel County Lincoln County Webster County
Dixon County Logan County Wheeler County
Dundy County Merrick County

DED has determined that political subdivisions located within qualified census tracts (QCTs) with a population of fewer than 1,000 inhabitants are also eligible to apply. A QCT is any census tract in which 50 percent or more of households have an income which is less than 60 percent of the area median gross income for the same year, or which has a poverty rate of at least 25 percent. The following Nebraska QCTs—excluding those in Gage, Jefferson, and Scotts Bluff Counties, which are eligible based on classification as a disproportionately impacted county—are eligible for this program:


County Tract(s)
Adams 9661.00
Buffalo 9695.00, 9696.00
Dodge 9644.00
Madison 9607.00
Thurston 9401.00, 9402.00

Application Information

Rural Community Recovery Program

Application Period:

Open Date – May 20, 2024 8:00 AM Central Time
Close Date – July 22, 2024 5:00 PM Central Time
Application Cycle  
Letter of Intent Due: June 3, 2024 5:00pm (Central)
Application Due: July 22, 2024 5:00pm (Central)
Anticipated Award Announcement: October 2024
Period of Performance End: September 30, 2026

In awarding the grants, DED will give preference to local governmental entities that applied for grants under the 2022 Rural Workforce Housing Land Development (RWLD) program.

Grant Management Resources

This page will provide technical assistance on using AmpliFund to apply for and manage grants awarded by DED.

To stay up to date on the latest news, subscribe to the Rural Community Recovery email list here.

Have questions?

Brittany Piper

Housing Specialist