Single-Family Housing Programs 

USDA’s Single-Family Housing Programs help rural communities build robust and sustainable economies by investing direct loans or loan guarantees to help low- and moderate-income rural residents build or buy safe, affordable housing in rural areas.  USDA is able to serve more customers, and use tax dollars efficiently, by working with partners to leverage funding with other sources such as private lenders, nonprofit organizations, and State and local agencies.  USDA also has innovative partnerships for self-help housing, and packagers to promote homeownership in underserved areas, and work with potential homeowners to navigate the homebuying process.  USDA also offers loans for site infrastructure, home repairs, and grants to elderly homeowners for accessibility, health, and safety hazards.


Rural Housing Service

USDA’s Rural Housing Service offers a variety of programs to build or improve housing and essential community facilities in rural areas.  We offer loans, grants and loan guarantees for single- and multi-family housing, child care centers, fire and police stations, hospitals, libraries, nursing homes, schools, first responder vehicles and equipment, housing for farm laborers and much more.

We also provide technical assistance loans and grants in partnership with non-profit organizations, Indian tribes, state and federal government agencies, and local communities.

We and our partners are working together to ensure that rural America continues to be a great place to live, work and raise a family.


Community Faciliites Programs 

USDA’s Community Facilities Programs provide loans, grants and loan guarantees for essential community facilities in rural areas. Priority is given to health care, education and public safety projects. Typical projects are hospitals, health clinics, schools, fire houses, community centers, first responder vehicles and equipment and many other community-based initiatives.


Multi-Family Housing Programs 

USDA’s Multi-Family Housing Programs offer loans to provide affordable rental housing for very-low-, low- and moderate-income residents, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. Funds also may be used to buy and improve land and to provide necessary facilities such as water and waste disposal systems. In addition, USDA offers rental assistance to help eligible rural residents with their monthly rental costs.



Important Programs

(1) Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program 

(2) Community Facilities Technical Assistance and Training Grant 

(3) Housing Preservation & Revitalization Demonstration Loans & Grants 

(4) Single Family Housing Direct Home Loans 

(5) Multi-Family Housing Loan Guarantees 

(6) Rural Community Development Initiative Grants 




To RHS, a rural area is either an open country or any town, village, city, or place, including the immediate adjacent densely settled area, which is not part of or associated with an urban area and which:

(1) Has a population not in excess of 2,500 inhabitants; or

(2) Has a population in excess of 2,500 but not in excess of 10,000 if it is rural in character; or

(3) Has a population in excess of 10,000 but not in excess of 20,000, and-

         (i)Is not contained within a Metropolitan Statistical Area; and

         (ii)Has a serious lack of mortgage credit for lower and moderate-income families as     determined by the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Any area classified as ‘‘rural’’ or a ‘‘rural area’’ prior to October 1, 1990, and determined not to be ‘‘rural’’ or a ‘‘rural area’’ as a result of data received from or after the 1990, 2000, or 2010 decennial census, and any area deemed to be a ‘‘rural area’’ at any time during the period beginning January 1, 2000, and ending December 31, 2010, shall continue to be so classified until the receipt of data from the decennial census in the year 2020, if such area has a population in excess of 10,000 but not in excess of 35,000, is rural in character, and has a serious lack of mortgage credit for lower and moderate-income families.

An exception to the rural eligibility requirements is the Farm Labor Housing Program (Section 514/516), which is the only Federal program available for development of housing for farm workers. This program is available in both rural and urban areas.


RHS-Rural Housing Service 

The Rural Housing Service (RHS) is an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture  (USDA). Located within the Department's Rural Development mission area. RHS operates a broad range of programs to provide moderate- low- and very-low-income Americans in rural communities with:

  • homeownership options to individuals, including direct home loans and mortgage guarantees;
  • housing rehabilitation and preservation funding;
  • grants to non-profits who organize self-help housing services in rural communities;
  • rental assistance to tenants of RHS-funded multi-family housing complexes;
  • farm labor housing;
  • help to developers of multi-family housing projects, like assisted housing for the elderly and disabled, or apartment buildings; and
  • community facilities, such as libraries, child carecenters, schools, municipal buildings, veterans shelters and firefighting equipment to Indian groups, nonprofit organizations, communities and local governments.

RHS administers direct loans, loan guarantees and grants. Direct loans are made and serviced by USDA staff; loan guarantees are made to banks or other private lenders, and grants are made directly to a person or organization.

RHS works with other federal agencies, and a number of both nonprofit and private organizations nationally, in order to pool resources to help America's rural residents most effectively.

For all Rural Development programs, the rural area definition was revised by the 2014 Farm Bill. Specifically, the Farm Bill allows some areas with populations up to 35,000 to remain eligible until receipt of the 2020 decennial census. Effective February 2, 2015, areas with populations greater than 35,000 no longer qualify for Rural Housing Program assistance. Please see below for detailed definition:


Rural Housing Service is available in the following areas/cities

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