Farm Labor Housing Loans and Grants

To provide decent, safe, and sanitary low-rent housing and related facilities for domestic farm laborers.


Related Programs

Examples of Funded Projects

Examples of funded projects are the projects sponsored by the Homestead Housing Authority in Homestead, Florida, or The Boulder County Housing Authority, Boulder, Colorado.

Agency - Department of Agriculture

Established in 1862, the Department of Agriculture serves all Americans through anti-hunger efforts, stewardship of nearly 200 million acres of national forest and rangelands, and through product safety and conservation efforts. The USDA opens markets for American farmers and ranchers and provides food for needy people around the world.

Office - Consult your local telephone directory for Rural Development Area Office number.

If no listing, contact appropriate Rural Development State Office listed in Appendix IV of the Catalog or on the internet at

Relevant Nonprofit Program Categories

Program Accomplishments

During fiscal year 2005, 818 new units were built and 1,222 units were rehabilitated or developed as multiple family-type housing and on-farm individual-type housing units.

Uses and Use Restrictions

The loans and grants may be used for construction, repair, or purchase of year-round or seasonal housing; acquiring the necessary land and making improvements on land for housing; and developing related support facilities including central cooking and dining facilities, small infirmaries, laundry facilities, day care centers, other essential equipment and facilities or recreation areas.

Funds may also be used to pay certain fees and interest incidental to the project.

Restrictions on the use of funds are: Developers' fees, resident services, cost of unrelated commercial space, costs associated with other lenders/grantors.

Housing financed with labor housing loan or grant funds must be occupied by domestic farm laborers, individuals who derive a substantial portion of their income from farm labor, and their families.

The occupants must also be a U. S. citizen or permanent resident.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Loans are available to farmers, family farm partnership, family farm corporations, or an association of farmers.

Loans and grants are available to States, Puerto Rico, the U.S.

Virgin Islands, political subdivisions of States, broad-based public or private nonprofit organizations, federally recognized Indian Tribes and non- profit corporations of farm workers.

Grants are available to eligible applicants only when there is a pressing need and when it is doubtful that such facilities could be provided unless grant assistance is available.

Beneficiary Eligibility

A domestic farm laborer is any person who receives a substantial portion of his/her income as a laborer on a farm in the United States and is either (1) a citizen of the United States, or (2) has been legally admitted for permanent residency.


The applicant must furnish factual evidence of the following: (a) The number of domestic farm laborers currently being used in the area; (b) the kind of labor performed; (c) the future need for domestic farm labor in the area; (d) the kind, condition, and adequacy of housing presently used for such labor; (e) ownership of presently occupied housing; (f) ability of workers to pay necessary rent; and (g) with the exception of State and local public agencies, be unable to provide housing from its own resources or credit on terms and conditions that would enable the applicant to provide labor housing. Costs will be determined in accordance with 7 CFR 3015 or 3016 for State and local governments.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Not applicable.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.


Application Procedures

For FY 06 the Section 514 Program will be awarded through a Notice of Funding Available (NOFA) announced in the Federal Register March 15, 2006. The NOFA application period is 2 months from the date of the announcement. The NOFA deadline is May 14, 2006. Funds available for off-farm new construction and acquisition and rehabilitation are as follows: Section 514 Loan $36,116,887; Section 516 Grant $13,860,000; Rental Assistance (RA) and Operating Assistance (only for migrant workers) will be available for all new construction funds. Other Distribution of Funding: Loans: On-Farm-$2,000,000; Administrator's Reserve-$4,179,805; Grants: Technical Assistant Grants-$0; Administrator's Reserve-$3,369,960.

Award Procedures

Applications will be scored on the following factors: (1) The presence and extent of leveraged assistance for the units that will serve RHS income-eligible tenants at basic rents comparable to those if RHS provided full financing, computed as a percentage of the RHS total development cost. A minimum of ten percent leveraged assistance is required to earn points; however, less than ten percent and the proposal includes donated land, two points will be awarded for the donated land, (0 to 20 points); (2) Seasonal, temporary, migrant housing (5 points for up to and including 50 percent of the units; 10 points for 51 percent or more); For FY 2005, National Office initiative will be based on the presence of and extent to which a tenant services plan exists that clearly outlines services that will be provided to the residents of the proposed project. Two points will be awarded for each resident service included in the tenant services plan up to a maximum of 10 points,(0 to 10 points). Application selection process: (1) States will review and score the applications and submit a list of applications in rank and point score order to the National Office; (2) the National Office will rank applications on a nation-wide basis and will advise States of the results.


Please contact the program contact listed in the Information Contacts section below.


Housing Act of 1949, as amended, Sections 514 and 516, Public Laws 89-117 and 89-754, 42 U.S.C 1484 and 1486.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

RHS uses a two-stage application process for the Farm Labor Housing Program. First, applicants submit preapplications, which are used to determine preliminary eligibility and feasibility. RHS then invites some applicants to submit formal applications. Section 514/516 funds are divided between off-farm housing and on-farm housing. The off-farm program provides loans and grants to organizations that assist farmworkers at off-farm locations with no restrictions that workers be employed on a particular farm. Under new regulations effective June 1999, preapplications for the off-farm program funds must be submitted in response to a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) published in the Federal Register every year. RHS scores the preapplications, using a ranking process to determine which applicants will be invited to submit formal applications. The on-farm program makes loans to eligible farmers (or a group of farmers) to provide Housing, usually for their own laborers. Preapplications for on-farm units, or for repair And rehabilitation of existing off-farm units, may be submitted at any time are processed on a first-come, first-served basis.


A person or organization who is directly and adversely affected by an administrative decision by Rural Development should follow the procedures found in 7 CFR Part 1900, Subpart B of "Rural Development Administrative Appeal Procedures."


Not applicable; although, applicants may apply under subsequent funding cycles.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

In case of a grant, 10 percent or more of the total development cost must be obtained from other sources. This may include funds made available through the power to levy taxes, assessments or charges, or from other credit sources including an Rural Development Labor Housing loan under Section 514.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Loans are usually made for 33 years at 1 percent interest. Grants may cover up to 90 percent of development cost. The balance may be (and usually is) a Section 514 loan. RHS rental assistance (RA) subsidy can be used to limit tenant payments to 30 percent of their income. RA can be used as an operating subsidy for projects or units with Section 516 funding that serve migrants. It is RHS policy to attempt to use less than a 90 percent grant when RA is utilized.

Post Assistance Requirements


Monthly progress reports are to be made to the Rural Development District/State Offices during the first year of operation or until requirement is waived by Rural Development.


For borrowers not covered under OMB Circular No. A-133, annual audits are required from borrowers with 25 or more units in one or more projects. In accordance with the provisions of 7 CFR Part 3052, which implement OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations," nonfederal entities that receive financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $300,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 7 CFR 3052.


Adequate operating tenant, and accounting records must be maintained by borrower.

Financial Information

Account Identification

(Grants) 12-2004-0-1-604; (Loans)
12-4141-0-3-371; 12-2081-0-4-371.


Loans: FY 07 $41,580,000; FY 08 est not available; and FY 09 est not reported. Grants: FY 07 $13,860,000; FY 08 est not available; and FY 09 est not reported.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Initial Grants $48,270 to $5,412,973. Average: $2,365,805. Initial Loans ranged from $196,400 to $300,000,000. Average: $1,297,028.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

7 CFR 3560; Subpart L; RD Instruction 1944-D.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

Consult your local telephone directory for Rural Development Area Office number. If no listing, contact appropriate Rural Development State Office listed in Appendix IV of the Catalog or on the internet at

Headquarters Office

Multi-Family Housing Processing Division, Rural Housing Service, Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC 20250. Telephone: (202) 720-1604. Use the same number for FTS.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

A clearly defined need must exist to provide housing for domestic farm workers.

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