USDA Rural Housing

USDA Rural Housing

  • Year Started 1916
  • Administratering Agency United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Housing Service (RHS)
  • Total Units Count 3.1 million
  • Total Assisted Units Count 3.1 million
  • # Persons / Houshold Served Low- and moderate-income rural Americans
  • Funding Agency United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • Population Targeted Low- and moderate-income rural Americans
  • Client Group Type Low- and moderate-income rural Americans
  • Housing Type Name Single-family homes, rental housing, and community development
  • Last Updated April 25, 2023

If the resource information above is incorrect, please notify your local HUD field office.

USDA rural housing program strives to improve the housing situations of the individuals and families who have no home and are living in the worst housing conditions. It attempts to stabilize the housing for those who are in danger of losing their house and improve the ability of low-income people so that they can afford stable housing. 

Nature of the Program

The USDA rural housing program competitively provides grants for rent, security deposits, relocation assistance, emergency lodging, and construction of new housing units. The purpose of providing these grants is non-emergency permanent housing, rental assistance, and give operating costs for assisted housing units. 


The private non-profit entities, county, and local governments are eligible to receive a grant under this program.

Single-Family Housing Programs

Well-built and affordable housing is crucial for the communities of Rural America. The single-family housing program of rural development offers an opportunity for families and individuals to buy, build or repair affordable homes in Rural America. 

Whether an individual or family is eligible for the loans and grants depends upon the income. The income is decided according to the median income of that area and it keeps on varying from time to time. 

Even if the individual or family has no money down, USDA Rural development offers qualified applicants to get housing assistance. Certain programs also assist non-profit entities to provide new homes to qualifying individuals and families. 

Some of the single-family housing programs include 

  • Single-family housing direct loans  
  • Single-family housing guaranteed loan programs.


Multifamily Housing Programs

The multifamily housing programs assist the rural property owners by way of loans, loan guarantees, and grants to develop and make the properties available for the low-income, disabled and elderly individuals and families. 

For subsidizing the rents for those who can’t afford it, multifamily housing works with the owners of its direct and farm labor housing loan properties. However, there are instances when a direct loan ends before the initial term. If this is the case, then the program provides vouchers and protects the tenants facing hardships. 

The program makes use of a variety of tools to maintain the physical condition of more than 1400 properties lying in the USDA rural rental portfolio. 

Multifamily programs 

  • Multifamily housing direct loans 
  • Multifamily housing loan guarantees
  • Off-farm labor direct loans and grants
  • On-farm labor housing loans
  • Multifamily housing rental assistance program 
  • Multifamily housing preservation and revitalization 
  • Multifamily tenant voucher program 
  • Multifamily housing non-profit transfer technical assistance grants
  • Off-farm labor housing technical assistance grants


Water and Environmental Programs

The rural communities tend to get desired technical assistance and financing to develop the drinking water and other disposal systems in rural areas through rural utility service water and environmental programs. 

Safe drinking water and sanitary waste disposal systems are vital for maintaining public health and also add to the economic vitality of rural America. It is rural development that will assist rural America and improve the quality of life and economic opportunities for its people. 

The program provides funds for the construction of water and waste facilities in rural communities. Besides this, it provides funds to the organizations providing training and technical assistance to the rural communities. 


  • Emergency community water assistance grants
  • Grants for rural and native Alaskan villages
  • Rural decentralized water systems grant program 
  • Individual water and wastewater grants
  • Solid waste management grants 
  • Water and waste disposal loans and grants


Community Facilities Programs

For rural areas to enjoy the same basic quality of life and services as urban areas, providing them with the essential community infrastructure is crucial. These programs provide loans, loan guarantees, and grants to facilitate the development of basic facilities in rural areas. 

The provision of these amenities increases the competitiveness of rural communities and goes a long way in attracting businesses to employ their residents. The non-profit organizations and public bodies are aware of this that Indian tribes need funds to construct and improve the facilities concerning healthcare, education, public safety, and others. 

Community facilities programs 

  • Community facilities loan guarantees
  • Community facilities direct loans and grants
  • Community facilities relending program 
  • Economic impact initiative grants
  • Emergency rural healthcare grants
  • Rural community development Initiative Grants


Business Programs

The business programs are aimed at providing technical assistance to foster business creation and growth. There are partnerships with the public and private community-based organizations and also the financial institutions.

These programs assist in providing the capital, equipment, training, and entrepreneurial skills which are required to start and grow the business. In addition to this, the business programs also assist in creating and preserving quality jobs in rural areas.

For meeting the business and credit needs in the under-served areas, the business programs collaborate with the public and private credit source lenders. The funds received will enhance economic opportunities and ensure self-sustainability for the generations to come.

Business programs

  • Agriculture innovation center program 
  • Business and industry loan guarantees
  • Energy programs
  • Food supply chain guaranteed program
  • A rural business investment program
  • Socially disadvantaged group grants
  • Value-added producer grants



The services of the USDA rural housing include information on lender training, post-loan procedures, consulting engineers, and borrowers impacted by the disaster.

Single-family housing guaranteed lender

The program assists the approved lenders in providing 100% financing to eligible borrowers for purchasing homes in rural areas. The eligible borrowers are such households that do not exceed 115% of the median household income.

For Engineers

The USDA rural housing services for engineers is responsible for looking after the engineering aspects of the electric program’s standards, specifications, and other requirements to design, construct, and maintain the power plants and asset management practices such as energy efficiency, and load management, smart grid, and system communications.

RUS Interest Rates

It includes the interest rates concerning the electric, telecommunications, water, and environmental programs. There are a variety of services for assisting individuals and communities with their fund applications.

Sustainable Management Tools

There are a variety of tools offered by the RUS to assist the rural and small systems and conduct workshops on the basis of the rural and small systems guidebook.

Frequently Asked Questions

Statutory and Regulatory Authority

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Section 202, Housing Act of 1959

  • 12 U.S.C.A. § 1701q

Section 811, National Affordable Housing Act of 1990

  • 42 U.S.C.A § 8013

Select HUD Regulations

  • 24 C.F.R. Part 247 (evictions)
  • 24 C.F.R. Part 891 (supportive housing for the elderly and persons with disabilities)