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Strengthen Rural Communities

Rural Development (RD) programs help revitalize rural communities by building or improving housing, neighborhood facilities, utilities, and telecommunications services. Assistance can be given in the form of direct or guaranteed loans, grants, technical assistance, research or educational materials. RD also supports the growth of rural businesses and cooperatives, which creates employment opportunities for rural residents around the country. RD works in partnership with state, local and Tribal governments as well as nonprofit and faith-based organizations.

Faith-based and neighborhood organizations play a critical role in building our rural communities. Non-profit organizations, both faith-based and secular, serving rural areas may be eligible to apply, individually or in partnership with others, for any of the following Rural Development programs.

Rural Development Housing Programs

These programs provide loans, grants, and technical assistance for both single-family and multi-family rural housing.

Mutual Self-Help Housing: The Mutual Self-Help Housing loan program helps low-income households construct their own homes with the support of a sponsor organization. The program is targeted to families in towns of less than 20,000 residents, who are unable to afford clean, safe housing through conventional methods and want to build equity in their home.

Rental Assistance Grants (RAG): RAG provides a rental subsidy for qualifying tenants. Non-profit organizations may apply for the grant, which allows them to supply housing to low-income tenants who are required to pay no more than 30% of their income to rent.

Rural Rental Housing Loans (RRH): RRH guarantees loans to develop affordable rental housing in rural areas with less than 20,000 residents. Apartment units built under this program are intended for families who earn less than 115 percent of the median income for their area. Since it serves low- to moderate-income tenants, the program complements the Rental Assistance Grants program.

Rural Housing Preservation Grants (RGPG): These grants are allocated to sponsoring organizations for the repair or renovation of deteriorating homes and rental properties for very low- and low-income residents. This program serves areas with populations less than 20,000.

Farm Labor Housing Loan and Grant Program: These programs build affordable rental housing and related facilities for both migrant and year-round farm workers. Units may be off-farm housing available to eligible farm workers of any farming operation or on-farm housing for farm employees.

Rural Development Community Development and Business Programs

These programs are designed to provide technical assistance and funding for rural community centers and facilities.

Community Facilities Loans and Grants (CFLG): Community Facility Loans and Grants are given to develop essential community facilities, such as childcare and community centers. Faith based and non-profit organizations in communities with up to 20,000 residents are eligible to apply.

Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI): The RCDI program provides technical assistance and training funds to qualified non-profits to develop their capacity to undertake housing, community facilities, and community and economic development projects in rural areas. RCDI grant funds have a dollar for dollar matching fund requirement, intended to double the impact of the grants. Organizations in towns of 50,000 or less that are located outside the boundaries of a city and its surrounding suburbs are encouraged to apply.

Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grants (DLT): DLT grants provide end-user equipment and programming that delivers distance learning and telemedicine services to towns with less than 20,000 residents. For example, grants can be utilized by schools or community centers to provide education via the Internet.

Rural Business Enterprise Grants (RBEG): The RBEG program provides grants to organizations that finance and facilitate the development of small and emerging rural businesses. Aid is given through revolving loan programs, technical assistance, capital loans, equipment, real estate and financing. Grants are allocated to organizations in communities of 50,000 or less.