United States Department of Agriculture Rural Information Center

Rural Housing Resources Rainbow Line

What Information and Financial Resources are Available for Rural Housing?

Affordable Housing Programs || Manufactured Housing || Additional Resources || Housing Data Sources

This online guide provides information on funding programs, technical assistance, and informational resources from housing organizations.
This guide was developed by the Rural Information Center in 2006. Last Modified Ocotber, 2012

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Affordable Housing Programs

The following programs provide funding information to assist individuals and community nonprofit organizations applying for a grant.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA):

  • USDA Rural Housing Service (RHS): The USDA Rural Housing Service has various programs available to aid in the development of rural America. Funds are available through community facilities loans, home ownership loans, rural rental housing loans, home improvement loans, and more.
  • State and Local Office Information: Find the USDA RHS Office nearest you on this easy map. USDA RHS also has a Centralized Service Center with a toll free number at 1-800-414-1226.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD):
The Department of Housing and Urban Development is the Federal agency that works to help the nation's communities meet their development needs, spur economic growth in distressed neighborhoods, provide housing assistance for the poor, help rehabilitate and develop moderate and low-cost housing, and enforce the nation's fair housing laws. This site includes regularly updated listings of available funds and homes for sale, plus best practices and links to other HUD programs.

  • Help for Homeowners Facing the Loss Of Their Home
  • Local Public Housing Agency Contact Information and Websites
  • HUD Veteran Resource Center (HUDVet) 1-800-998-9999:
    In addition to its special focus on veterans who are homeless, the Veteran Resource Center (HUDVET) is also a source of information on other HUD and related Federal programs, such those to combat domestic violence, enhance community and economic development, aid runaway youth, and increase affordable housing for senior citizens and Americans with disabilities.

    The Department of Veterans Affairs: Home Loan Program
    More than 29 million veterans and service personnel are eligible for VA financing. These loans are often made without any down payment at all, and frequently offer lower interest rates than ordinarily available with other kinds of loans. Your local VA regional office information can be reached by using the toll-free number: 1-800-827-1000.

    Federal Housing Finance Agency:

    Ensures that the Federal Home Loan Bank System fulfills its public policy mission of facilitating residential mortgage lending and supporting community and economic development activity in rural and urban communities.

    The Farm Credit Service is a collection of federally chartered borrower-owned credit cooperatives that lend primarliy to agriculture, but also provide rural home loans. For a description of the FCS and a list of banks serving your state:

    National Council of State Housing Agencies(NCSHA):
    A national, nonprofit organization which assists its members in advancing the interests of lower income and underserved people through the financing, development, and preservation of affordable housing. NCSHA's members are Housing Finance Agencies (HFAs) with statewide authority. NCSHA's member agencies operate in every state and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

    The Housing Assistance Council:
    A national nonprofit corporation created to increase the availability of decent and affordable housing for low-income people in rural areas throughout the United States. Offers loans, technical assistance and other housing assistance to non-profit organizations that provide affordable housing resources.

    Fannie Mae Community Outreach:
    "Our Community Investment and Engagement group provides grant investments to nonprofit organizations that are committed to helping address the toughest housing."

    Freddie Mac:
    Information on obtaining mortgages on both single- and multi-family dwellings, as well as a link to The Freddie Mac Foundation, which is "dedicated to making home a place where children and families thrive."

  • Freddie Mac Manufactured Housing information.
  • Ginnie Mae:
    Ginnie Mae mainly operates as a Mortgage-Backed Securities program. Ginnie Mae guarantees securities backed by pools of mortgages. These securities are issued by private institutions that Ginnie Mae approves. The mortgages are insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), or guaranteed by the Veterans Administration or The USDA's Rural Housing Service. These securities provide lenders with a "vehicle for originating, funding, and servicing mortgages in a highly structured and liquid market."

    Habitat for Humanity:
    An organization which strives to end poverty housing and homelessness by providing simple, decent homes to those in need. Families buy houses at cost and receive interest-free mortgages in exchange for investing several hundred hours of manual labor in building their house and houses for others.

    Rural Community Assistance Corporation Housing Program:
    This program emphasises three areas: Farm Worker Housing, Self-Help Housing, and Community Housing Development Organizations. Additionally, they have begun working with special projects involving the combination of housing with businesses, social services, health care and child care.

    Rural LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation):
    An organization which strives to build the capacity of resident led rural community development corporations (CDCs), increase their production and impact, demonstrate the value of investing in and through rural CDCs and make the resource and policy environment more supportive of rural CDCs and their work.

    The Enterprise Foundation
    Offering expertise and access to best practices and publications on a variety of housing subjects, including finance, housing production, home ownership and home rental. There is also a resource database.

    Resources for Nonprofit Developers

    Housing Repair

    See Federal Programs for Home Improvement, USDA's Rural Housing Service and the Department of Housing and Urban Development for housing repair programs.

    Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program(LIHEAP):
    Information through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on government grants made to states and tribal organizations for heating assistance, cooling assistance, energy crisis intervention and low-cost residential weatherization and other energy related home repair.

    Weatherization Assistance Program:
    U.S. Department of Energy program which aims to correct the disproportionate energy burden faced by low-income Americans. Includes information on who's qualified for the program, services offered and the outcomes of weatherization in low-income housing.

    Rebuilding Together:
    Christmas in April is a national volunteer organization that works in partnership with communities to rehabilitate housing, particularly for low-income elderly or disabled homeowners. They can be reached at 1-800-4-REHAB-9.

    Manufactured Housing Resources

    Additional Resources

    National Housing Institute (NHI):
    A nonprofit organization that provides research on what does and does not work in community building and other key issues of affordable housing. It then shares this information with other nonprofit and community-based organizations to help in providing key findings to those active in affordable housing development.

    National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC):
    A national organization that is "solely dedicated to ending America's affordable housing crisis." It does this through education and advocacy. This organization has a vast number of links to housing organizations and government housing programs as well as statistical information on America's housing issues.

    National Rural Housing Coalition A group of rural community activists, public officials, and non-profit developers who fight for better housing and community facilities for low-income rural people. They can be reached at (202)393-5229.

    RIC'S Housing Resources Page

    Housing Data Sources

    For statistical information on housing issues.

    U.S. Census Bureau Data:


    USDA, Rural Information Center
    National Agricultural Library
    10301 Baltimore Ave., Room 123
    Beltsville, MD 20705-2351
    ric@ars.usda.gov
    1-800-633-7701