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The Rural Housing and Economic Development (RHED) program provides competitively awarded funds for capacity building at the state and local level for rural housing and economic development and to support innovative housing and economic development activities in rural areas.
 
HFAs and Rural Housing
HFAs are involved in a number of rural housing programs, including the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Section 515 and 538 multifamily housing programs and Section 502 single-family housing program and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Rural Housing and Economic Development program.
 
Section 515 rural rental housing loans are direct, competitive mortgage loans made to provide affordable multifamily rental housing for very low-, low-, and moderate-income families; the elderly; and persons with disabilities. Very low-income is defined as below 50 percent of the area median income (AMI); low-income is between 50 and 80 percent of AMI; and moderate income is capped at $5,500 above the low-income limit. The Section 538 program provides federal government guarantees for loans made by commercial lenders to developers of multifamily rental housing for low- and moderate- income tenants in rural areas and is intended to provide decent, affordable rental housing for low- and moderate-income rural households with incomes up to 115 percent of AMI.
 
Section 502 loans are primarily used to help low-income individuals or households purchase homes in rural areas. They can be direct or guaranteed. Funds can be used to build, repair, renovate or relocate a home, or to purchase and prepare sites, including providing water and sewage facilities. Applicants for loans may have an income of up to 115 percent of AMI. Families must be without adequate housing, but be able to afford the mortgage payments, including taxes and insurance. In addition, applicants must have reasonable credit histories.
 
Useful Links: USDA Rural Development, USDA Housing and Community Facilities Programs