Farm Labor Housing Loans and Grants

Published on AidPage by IDILOGIC on Jun 24, 2005

Purpose of this program:

To provide decent, safe, and sanitary low-rent housing and related facilities for domestic farm laborers.

Possible uses and use restrictions...

The loans and grants may be used for construction, repair, or purchase of year-round or seasonal housing; acquiring the necessary land and making improvements on land for housing; and developing related support facilities including central cooking and dining facilities, small infirmaries, laundry facilities, day care centers, other essential equipment and facilities or recreation areas. Funds may also be used to pay certain fees and interest incidental to the project. Restrictions on the use of funds are: The housing must be of a practical type and must be constructed in an economical manner and not of elaborate material or extravagant design. Housing financed with labor housing loan or grant funds must be occupied by domestic farm laborers and their families.

Who is eligible to apply...

Loans are available to farmers, family farm partnership, family farm corporation, or an association of farmers. Loans and grants are available to States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, political subdivisions of States, broad-based public or private nonprofit organizations, federally recognized Indian Tribes and non- profit corporations of farm workers. Grants are available to eligible applicants only when there is a pressing need and when it is doubtful that such facilities could be provided unless grant assistance is available.

Eligible Applicant Categories:
Eligible Functional Categories:

The applicant must furnish factual evidence of the following: (a) The number of domestic farm laborers currently being used in the area; (b) the kind of labor performed; (c) the future need for domestic farm labor in the area; (d) the kind, condition, and adequacy of housing presently used for such labor; (e) ownership of presently occupied housing; (f) ability of workers to pay necessary rent; and (g) with the exception of State and local public agencies, be unable to provide housing from its own resources or credit on terms and conditions that would enable the applicant to provide labor housing. Costs will be determined in accordance with 7 CFR 3015 or 3016 for State and local governments.

Note:This is a brief description of the credentials or documentation required prior to, or along with, an application for assistance.

About this section:

This section indicates who can apply to the Federal government for assistance and the criteria the potential applicant must satisfy. For example, individuals may be eligible for research grants, and the criteria to be satisfied may be that they have a professional or scientific degree, 3 years of research experience, and be a citizen of the United States. Universities, medical schools, hospitals, or State and local governments may also be eligible. Where State governments are eligible, the type of State agency will be indicated (State welfare agency or State agency on aging) and the criteria that they must satisfy.

Certain federal programs (e.g., the Pell Grant program which provides grants to students) involve intermediate levels of application processing, i.e., applications are transmitted through colleges or universities that are neither the direct applicant nor the ultimate beneficiary. For these programs, the criteria that the intermediaries must satisfy are also indicated, along with intermediaries who are not eligible.

How to apply...

Application Procedure:

For FY 01 the Section 515 Program will be awarded through a Notice of Funding Available (NOFA) announced in the Federal Register December 26, 2000. The NOFA application period is 4 months from the date of the announcement. The NOFA deadline is April 25, 2001. Funds available for off-farm new construction and acquisition and rehabilitation are as follows: Section 514 Loan $23,533,000; Section 516 Grant $10,000,000; Rental Assistance (RA) and Operating Assistance (only for migrant workers) will be available for all new construction funds. Other Distribution of Funding: Loans: On-Farm-$2,000,000; Administrator's Reserve-$3,000,532; Grants: Technical Assistant Grants-$1,500,000; Administrator's Reserve-$3,500,000.

Note: Each program will indicate whether applications are to be submitted to the Federal headquarters, regional or local office, or to a State or local government office.

Award Procedure:

Applications will be scored on the following factors: (1) The presence and extent of leveraged assistance for the units that will serve RHS income-eligible tenants at basic rents comparable to those if RHS provided full financing, computed as a percentage of the RHS total development cost. A minimum of ten percent leveraged assistance is less than ten percent and the proposal includes donated land, two points will be awarded for the donated land, (0 to 20 points); (2) Seasonal, temporary, migrant housing. (5 points for up to and including 50 percent of the units; 10 points for 51 percent or more); For FY 2001, National Office initiative will be based on the presence of and extent to which a tenant services plan exists that clearly outlines services that will be provided to the residents of the proposed project. Two points will be awarded for each resident service included in the tenant services plan up to a maximum of 10 points,(0 to 10 points). Application selection process: (1) States will review and score the applications and submit a list of applications in rank and point score order to the National Office; (2) the National Office will rank applications on a nation-wide basis and will advise States of the results.

Note: Grant payments may be made by a letter of credit, advance by Treasury check, or reimbursement by Treasury check. Awards may be made by the headquarters office directly to the applicant, an agency field office, a regional office, or by an authorized county office. The assistance may pass through the initial applicant for further distribution by intermediate level applicants to groups or individuals in the private sector.

Deadlines and process...


April 25, 2001.

Note: When available, this section indicates the deadlines for applications to the funding agency which will be stated in terms of the date(s) or between what dates the application should be received. When not available, applicants should contact the funding agency for deadline information.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

RHS uses a two-stage application process for the Farm Labor Housing Program. First, applicants submit preapplications, which are used to determine preliminary eligibility and feasibility. RHS then invites some applicants to submit final applications. Section 514/516 funds are divided between off-farm housing and on-farm housing. The off-farm program provides loans and grants to organizations that assist farmworkers at off-farm locations with no restrictions that workers be employed on a particular farm. Under new regulations effective June 1999, preapplications for the off-farm program funds must be submitted in response to a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) published in the Federal Register every year. RHS scores the preapplications, using a ranking process to determine which applicants will be invited to submit final applications. The on-farm program makes loans to eligible farmers (or a group of farmers) to provide Housing, usually for their own laborers. Preapplications for on-farm units, or for repair And rehabilitation of existing off-farm units, may be submitted at any time are processed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Preapplication Coordination

Not applicable. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372.

Note: This section indicates whether any prior coordination or approval is required with governmental or nongovernmental units prior to the submission of a formal application to the federal funding agency.


A person or organization who is directly and adversely affected by an administrative decision by Rural Development should follow the procedures found in 7 CFR Part 1900, Subpart B of "Rural Development Administrative Appeal Procedures."

Note: In some cases, there are no provisions for appeal. Where applicable, this section discusses appeal procedures or allowable rework time for resubmission of applications to be processed by the funding agency. Appeal procedures vary with individual programs and are either listed in this section or applicants are referred to appeal procedures documented in the relevant Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).


Not applicable; although, applicants may apply under subsequent funding cycles.

Note: In some instances, renewal procedures may be the same as for the application procedure, e.g., for projects of a non-continuing nature renewals will be treated as new, competing applications; for projects of an ongoing nature, renewals may be given annually.

Who can benefit...

A domestic farm laborer is any person who receives a substantial portion of his/her income as a laborer on a farm in the United States and is either (1) a citizen of the United States, or (2) has been legally admitted for permanent residency.

About this section:

This section lists the ultimate beneficiaries of a program, the criteria they must satisfy and who specifically is not eligible. The applicant and beneficiary will generally be the same for programs that provide assistance directly from a Federal agency. However, financial assistance that passes through State or local governments will have different applicants and beneficiaries since the assistance is transmitted to private sector beneficiaries who are not obligated to request or apply for the assistance.

What types of assistance...

Project Grants

The funding, for fixed or known periods, of specific projects. Project grants can include fellowships, scholarships, research grants, training grants, traineeships, experimental and demonstration grants, evaluation grants, planning grants, technical assistance grants, survey grants, and construction grants.

Guaranteed/Insured Loans

Programs in which the Federal government makes an arrangement to identify a lender against part or all of any defaults by those responsible for repayment of loans.

How much financial aid...

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Initial Grants $135,000 to $2,300,000. Average: $1,104,120. Initial Loans to individuals $20,000 to $200,000. Average: $34,500. Initial Loans to organizations $165,000 to $670,000. Average: $292,753.

Note: This section lists the representative range (smallest to largest) of the amount of financial assistance available. These figures are based upon funds awarded in the past fiscal year and the current fiscal year to date. Also indicated is an approximate average amount of awards which were made in the past and current fiscal years.


Initial Grants $135,000 to $2,300,000. Average: $1,104,120. Initial Loans to individuals $20,000 to $200,000. Average: $34,500. Initial Loans to organizations $165,000 to $670,000. Average: $292,753. FY 03 Loan: $55,862,000 Grant: $4,382,000; FY 04 est: Loan: $42,574,000; Grant: $17,901,000; and FY 05 est Loan: $41,999,000; Grant: $17,000,000.

Note: The dollar amounts listed in this section represent obligations for the past fiscal year (PY), estimates for the current fiscal year (CY), and estimates for the budget fiscal year (BY) as reported by the Federal agencies. Obligations for non-financial assistance programs indicate the administrative expenses involved in the operation of a program.

Account Identification

(Grants) 12-2004-0-1-604; (Loans) 12-4141-0-3-371; 12-2081-0-4-371.

Note: Note: This 11-digit budget account identification code represents the account which funds a particular program. This code should be consistent with the code given for the program area as specified in Appendix III of the Budget of the United States Government.

Examples of funded projects...

Examples of funded projects are the projects sponsored by the Homestead Housing Authority in Homestead, Florida, or The Boulder County Housing Authority, Boulder, Colorado.

About this section

This section indicates the different types of projects which have been funded in the past. Only projects funded under Project Grants or Direct Payments for Specified Use should be listed here. The examples give potential applicants an idea of the types of projects that may be accepted for funding. The agency should list at least five examples of the most recently funded projects.

Program accomplishments...

During fiscal year 2001, 818 new units were built and 696 units were rehabilitated or developed as multiple family type housing and on-farm individual type housing units.

Criteria for selecting proposals...

A clearly defined need must exist to provide housing for domestic farm workers.

Assistance considerations...

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Loans are usually made for 33 years at 1 percent interest. Grants may cover up to 90 percent of development cost. The balance may be (and usually is) a Section 514 loan. RHS rental assistance (RA) subsidy can be used to limit tenant payments to 30 percent of their income. RA can be used as an operating subsidy for projects or units with Section 516 funding that serve migrants. It is RHS policy to attempt to use less than a 90 percent grant when RA is utilized.

Formula and Matching Requirements

In case of a grant, 10 percent or more of the total development cost must be obtained from other sources. This may include funds made available through the power to levy taxes, assessments or charges, or from other credit sources including an Rural Development Labor Housing loan under Section 514.

A formula may be based on population, per capita income, and other statistical factors. Applicants are informed whether there are any matching requirements to be met when participating in the cost of a project. In general, the matching share represents that portion of the project costs not borne by the Federal government. Attachment F of OMB Circular No. A-102 (Office of Management and Budget) sets forth the criteria and procedures for the evaluation of matching share requirements which may be cash or in-kind contributions made by State and local governments or other agencies, institutions, private organizations, or individuals to satisfy matching requirements of Federal grants or loans.

Cash contributions represent the grantees' cash outlay, including the outlay of money contributed to the grantee by other public agencies, institutions, private organizations, or individuals. When authorized by Federal regulation, Federal funds received from other grants may be considered as the grantees' cash contribution.

In-kind contributions represent the value of noncash contributions provided by the grantee, other public agencies and institutions, private organizations or individuals. In-kind contributions may consist of charges for real property and equipment, and value of goods and services directly benefiting and specifically identifiable to the grant program. When authorized by Federal legislation, property purchased with Federal funds may be considered as grantees' in-kind contribution.

Maintenance of effort (MOE) is a requirement contained in certain legislation, regulations, or administrative policies stating that a grantee must maintain a specified level of financial effort in a specific area in order to receive Federal grant funds, and that the Federal grant funds may be used only to supplement, not supplant, the level of grantee funds.

Post assistance requirements...


Monthly progress reports are to be made to the Rural Development District/State Offices during the first year of operation or until requirement is waived by Rural Development.

Note: This section indicates whether program reports, expenditure reports, cash reports or performance monitoring are required by the Federal funding agency, and specifies at what time intervals (monthly, annually, etc.) this must be accomplished.


For borrowers not covered under OMB Circular No. A-133, annual audits are required from borrowers with 25 or more units in one or more projects. In accordance with the provisions of 7 CFR Part 3052, which implement OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations," nonfederal entities that receive financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $300,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 7 CFR 3052.

Note: This section discusses audits required by the Federal agency. The procedures and requirements for State and local governments and nonprofit entities are set forth in OMB Circular No. A-133. These requirements pertain to awards made within the respective State's fiscal year - not the Federal fiscal year, as some State and local governments may use the calendar year or other variation of time span designated as the fiscal year period, rather than that commonly known as the Federal fiscal year (from October 1st through September 30th).


Adequate operating tenant, and accounting records must be maintained by borrower.

Note: This section indicates the record retention requirements and the type of records the Federal agency may require. Not included are the normally imposed requirements of the General Accounting Office. For programs falling under the purview of OMB Circular No. A-102, record retention is set forth in Attachment C. For other programs, record retention is governed by the funding agency's requirements.



Housing Act of 1949, as amended, Sections 514 and 516, Public Laws 89-117 and 89-754, 42 U.S.C 1484 and 1486.

Note: This section lists the legal authority upon which a program is based (acts, amendments to acts, Public Law numbers, titles, sections, Statute Codes, citations to the U.S. Code, Executive Orders, Presidential Reorganization Plans, and Memoranda from an agency head).

Regulations, Guidelines, And Literature

7 CFR 1940.579 (a) and (b); Subpart D of 1944, Chapter XVIII; RD Instruction 1944-D, "Building a Better Future for Farmworkers," (PA1669) revised August, 2000.

Contact information...

Web Sites
Regional Or Local Office

Consult your local telephone directory for Rural Development Area Office number. If no listing, contact appropriate Rural Development State Office listed in Additional Contact Information - FMR Help or on the internet at

Note: This section lists the agency contact person, address and telephone number of the Federal Regional or Local Office(s) to be contacted for detailed information regarding a program such as: (1) current availability of funds and the likelihood of receiving assistance within a given period; (2) pre-application and application forms required; (3) whether a pre-application conference is recommended; (4) assistance available in preparation of applications; (5) whether funding decisions are made at the headquarters, regional or local level; (6) application renewal procedures (including continuations and supplementals) or appeal procedures for rejected applications; and (7) recently published program guidelines and material. However, for most federal programs, this section will instruct the reader to consult the so-called Appendix IV of the Catalog due to the large volume of Regional and Local Office Contacts for most agencies. This information is provided in Additional Contact Information (see below).

Headquarters Office

Multi-Family Housing Processing Division, Rural Housing Service, Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC 20250. Telephone: (202) 720-1604. Use the same number for FTS.

Note: This section lists names and addresses of the office at the headquarters level with direct operational responsibility for managing a program. A telephone number is provided in cases where a Regional or Local Office is not normally able to answer detailed inquiries concerning a program. Also listed are the name(s) and telephone number(s) of the information contact person(s) who can provide additional program information to applicants.

Additional Contact Information (Appendix IV)

Due to the large volume of regional and local office contacts for most agencies, full contact information is also provided separately here in a PDF format: