Rural Housing
updated September 22, 2017

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Office of Rural Development (RD) provides loans, grants, and rent help to make rural housing affordable and safe. You might be able to get this help if you and the property you live in qualify.

Who it Helps

Depending on your situation, you might qualify for a home purchase loan, a home repair loan or grant, or rent help to help lower your rent payments.

Rural housing loans, grants, and rent assistance can help:

  • People with disabilities
  • People with low income
  • People who can’t find a place to live, and
  • People who are 62 or older.

Home Purchase Loans

Home purchase loans can be used to buy a home in rural areas that qualify for USDA RD financing. These loans, also called mortgages, are more flexible, easier to get, and have lower interest rates than loans from private banks. You can also borrow 100% of the cost, make no down payment, get longer payment terms, and have lower monthly payments.

You might qualify for a home purchase loan if you:

  • Have an income that’s under 115% of the median for the area
  • Don’t have a suitable place to live
  • Can afford to make payments, and
  • Have a reasonable credit history.

Home Repair Loans

Home repair loans and grants help pay for repairs to make your rural home safer and more comfortable. Home repair loans must be repaid and have flexible terms similar to home purchase loans. If you are age 62 or older and are unable to repay a home repair loan, you might qualify for a home repair grant. Grants only have to be repaid if the property is sold within three years.

You might qualify for a home repair loan or grant if you:

  • Are unable to borrow money from other lenders
  • Have a very low income
  • Need to make repairs or improvements to a rural property

Property Location

To qualify for rural housing loans or grants, properties have to be located in certain rural areas.

See a list of qualifying rural locations.

Rent Assistance

Your rent might be reduced to 30% of your income if you live in a rental property that gets USDA rural development loans. Rent assistance is available in about half of the units in buildings that get this financing.

You might qualify for rent assistance if you:

  • Have a low income
  • Are elderly
  • Have a disability, and
  • Live in an eligible rental unit

See a list of properties with rental assistance, including their contact information. Contact the property manager for information about rent assistance for a specific building or rental unit.

Get Help

Contact the Rural Development office in your area to apply for rural housing loans or grants. They will help you with the next steps, and provide any forms you might need.

You can also use this income limits form to find out if you qualify for a loan or grant.