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NV conservation group supports FERC's transmission planning rule; Memorial Day weekend includes Tornadoes and record-high temperatures; A focus on the Farm Bill for Latino Advocacy Week in D.C; and Southeast Alaska is heating homes with its rainfall.

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U.S. Supreme Court allows South Carolina gerrymander that dilutes Black voters, Sen. Ted Cruz refuses to say if he'll accept 2024 election results, and Trump calls Mar-a-Lago search an attempt to have him assassinated.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

AR city director speaks with national leaders about housing for rural areas

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Thursday, March 14, 2024   

An Arkansas city director is back home after joining other leaders from across the country for the National League of Cities Congressional City Conference in Washington D.C. this week.

They discussed some of the most pressing issues facing communities, from public safety to affordable housing.

Phyllis Beard, District 2 city director in Hot Springs, said she was able to speak with the assistant to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development about the ongoing housing issues in her community.

"There are some issues regarding housing and then landlords that are receiving HUD money," Beard explained. "To receive HUD money, you're also supposed to provide safe, decent and sanitary housing. If you take that check from HUD, that's not been happening."

Beard emphasized she appreciated the opportunity to have her voice heard by national leaders because her past attempts to connect with Arkansas HUD have been unsuccessful. Last month the Housing Authority in the City of Hot Springs received a boost from a new federal program receiving more than $56,000 in funding to assist families with job training and financial literacy programs.

Beard pointed out larger cities tend to get more attention and funding from federal and state governments, and small rural areas like hers are more likely to be left out. She noted she learned about a new grant program allowing cities to apply for funding and receive dedicated support to navigate the application process. The program has already distributed $84 million in grants nationwide, offering a potential lifeline for areas such as hers.

"Most of America, about 80%, is small cities, less than, like, 50,000 people," Beard observed. "I'm hoping to take some of that information back where we can get grants for lots of things: housing, or infrastructure, parks, that kind of thing. There's lots of federal money that's been left on the table."

Beard added she was also able to visit with senators from Arkansas, and hear from cabinet secretaries and other federal leaders.


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