Rural Rental Housing Loans

To provide economically designed and constructed rental and cooperative housing and related facilities suited for rural residents.


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 - Refer to the NOFA which lists Offices to contact or consult your local telephone directory for Rural Development county or district office number.

If no listing, get in touch with appropriate Rural Development State office listed in Appendix IV of the Catalog or on the internet at

Relevant Nonprofit Program Categories

Program Accomplishments


Uses and Use Restrictions

Loans can be used to construct, or to purchase and substantially rehabilitate rental or cooperative housing or to develop manufactured housing projects.

Housing as a general rule will consist of multi-units with two or more family units and any appropriately related facilities.

Funds may also be used to provide approved recreational and service facilities appropriate for use in connection with the housing and to buy and improve the land on which the buildings are to be located.

Loans may not be made for nursing, special care, or institutional-type homes.

Grants are in the form of rental assistance for some units within the underwritten property.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Applicants may be individuals, cooperatives, nonprofit organizations, State or local public agencies, profit corporations, trusts, partnerships, limited partnerships, and be unable to finance the housing either with their own resources or with credit obtained from private sources.

However, applicants must be able to assume the obligations of the loan, furnish adequate security, and have sufficient income for repayment.

They must also have the ability and intention of maintaining and operating the housing for purposes for which the loan is made.

Loans may be made in communities up to 10,000 people in MSA areas and some communities up to 20,000 population in non- MSA areas.

Applicants in towns of 10,000 to 20,000 should check with their local Rural Development; office to determine if the agency can serve them.

Assistance is available to eligible applicants in States, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana's, and the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Occupants must be very low-, low- or moderate-income families households, elderly, handicapped, or disabled persons.


Applicants must furnish evidence of the following: (a) A comprehensive market analysis showing the need for such service; (b) a legal capacity to incur the obligation and operate the housing; (c) a sound budget; (d) good credit history; (e) inability to obtain necessary funds from other sources on terms and conditions that would enable the applicants to rent the units for amounts that are within payment ability of eligible very low, low-, or moderate-income family, households, elderly, handicapped, or disabled occupants. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-87.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Not applicable.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.


Application Procedures

For FY 06 the Section 515 Program will be awarded through a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) announced in the Federal Register March 15, 2006. The NOFA application period is 60 days from the date of the announcement. The NOFA deadline is May 14, 2006.

Award Procedures

Applications will be scored on the following factors (the factors are the same as last year's except for the additional requirement (shown in italics) that has been added to factor 4, the National Office initiative): (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. (0 to 20 points); (2) the units to be developed are in a colonia, tribal land, EZ, EC, or REAP community, or in a place identified in the State Consolidated Plan or State Needs Assessment as a high need community for multifamily housing. ("State" refers to the State Government.) (20 points); (3) the loan request includes donated land meeting the provisions of 7 CFR 1944.215(r)(4). (5 points); and (4) in States where RHS has an on-going formal working relationship, agreement or Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the State to provide State resources (State funds, State RA, HOME funds, CDBG funds, or Low-Income Housing Tax Credits) for RHS proposals; or where the State provides preference or points to RHS proposals in awarding such State resources, 20 points will be provided to loan requests that include such State resources in an amount equal to at least 5 percent of the total development cost. (National office initiative) (20 points).


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


Housing Act of 1949, as amended, Sections 515 and 521, Public Law 102-550, 42 U.S.C. 1485, 1490a.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Within 30 days, States will review and score the applications and submit a list of applications in rank and point score order to the National Office. Following the State's submission of applications to the National Office, within 30 days the National Office will rank applications on a nation-wide basis and advise States of the results.


Applicant may request reconsideration on the basis of pertinent facts concerning the application.


Applicants may reapply at next Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA).

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

This program is now a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA). Rural Development State Directors use needs criteria to establish a list of targeted communities for which applicants may request loan funds. Applications are then rated competitively in order to select recipients.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Loans are for up to 30 years at an effective 1 percent interest rate, and are amortized over 50 years. A current rate is used for the promissory note but thereafter is used only to determine maximum rent payments. Tenants pay basic rent or 30 percent of adjusted income, whichever is greater. RHS rental assistance subsidy can be used to limit tenant payment to 30 percent of their income. Loans made through contracts entered into on or after December 15, 1989 cannot be prepaid.

Post Assistance Requirements


Monthly progress reports are to be made to the Rural Development Manager, during the first six months of successful operation and each month thereafter until discontinued by the Rural Development Manager.

Annual reports required thereafter.


For borrowers not covered under OMB Circular No. A-133, annual audits conducted in accordance with Government Auditing Standards are required from borrowers with 25 or more units in any project. In accordance with the provisions of 7 CFR Part 3052, "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations," 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 $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 7 CFR 3052.


Good business records required.

Financial Information

Account Identification

12-4141-0-3-371; 12-2081-0-1-371.


(New Construction funds) FY 07 $36,382,000 (for repair/rehab only); FY 08 est not available; and FY 09 est not reported.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Loan limit per application is $1 million. Total limit per State (reserve and set-aside funds are not included in this cap): $2.5 million.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

7 CFR Part 3560. Handbook 1-Loan Origination, Handbook 2-Asset Management, Handbook 3-Project Servicing.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

Refer to the NOFA which lists Offices to contact or consult your local telephone directory for Rural Development county or district office number. If no listing, get in touch with appropriate Rural Development State office listed in Appendix IV of the Catalog or on the internet at

Headquarters Office

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

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Not applicable.

Social Entrepreneurship

New Age of Philanthropy: #GivingTuesday

A part of a series produced by The Huffington Post in celebration of #GivingTuesday, which will take place this year on December 3, Kathy Calvin and Henry Timms vouch that we are living in a new era of philanthropy.

More Federal Domestic Assistance Programs

Improvement and Repair of Indian Detention Facilities | Interoperable Communications and Training Project | NOAA Programs for Disaster Relief Appropriations Act Non-construction and Construction | Cancer Biology Research | Management Initiatives |  Site Style by YAML | | Grants | Grants News | Sitemap | Privacy Policy

Edited by: Michael Saunders

© 2004-2024 Copyright Michael Saunders