Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns has announced the availability of over $4.2 billion in funding to build and improve rural housing facilities through USDA's Rural Development housing programs.

"The Bush Administration has made it a priority to help rural families secure safe and affordable housing," said Johanns. "These funds will play an important role in improving the quality of life and enhancing economic opportunities in rural America."

The funding includes approximately $99.2 million in direct loans and $99.2 million in loan guarantees for multi-family housing. These funds may be used to repair and rehabilitate existing units and to build new units. Also available are $44 million in competitive loan and grants for the construction of off-farm rental housing units for domestic farm workers, and $8.8 million in competitive grants to non-profit organizations and public bodies to assist more than 2,100 very low- and low-income rural residents repair and rehabilitate their homes or rental housing.

The Rural Rental Housing Direct Loan Program provides loans for multi-family housing complexes in rural areas. The deadline for submitting loan applications is May 15, 2005.

Source: Government Release