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Rental assistance from USDA Rural Development.

The USDA Rural Development rental assistance program is similar to HUD income based housing. The federal government encourages property owners, developers, and landlords to build affordable homes or apartments in rural parts of the country. The units will charge the tenant a rent amount that is based on their income.

Once a home has been build, then HUD as well as USDA provides vouchers, subsides, and ongoing rental assistance to help ensure that low-income tenants pay no more than 30 percent of their total household income towards their monthly housing costs. It operates almost the same way as section 8. But there are other USDA resources as well, and some of Rural Development’s portfolio of other rental and housing assistance programs and resources offered includes the following.

  • Rural Rental Housing Loans are available, which help to finance the construction of additional housing for low to moderate-income families and individuals.
  • The government organization also provides grants for cooperative housing for the disabled and elderly who lived on a fixed or limited income.
  • The USDA program also awards Housing Preservation Grants, and these are intended to provide assistance to rural communities to help them modernize and improve the quality of housing units and multi unit rental standards.

The USDA operates in many parts of the country, including in agricultural regions, rural areas, and other far off parts of the country. Most regions have a population of only several thousand people in the town. Without these grants and loans, many developers may not build units in those region. All of these resources are focused on providing affordable housing to low income families and individuals who live in more rural towns, villages, and communities.

The various program and USDA leverage resources including HOME Funds, various tax credit, housing grants, Housing Trust Funds and other federal government subsidized rental assistance. All of this is done in an effort to accomplish its goal to provide decent, safe, affordable, and sanitary housing to the less fortunate, and this is done primarily in rural areas.




Wherever the need exists for affordable rental housing for families, the Rural Development assistance program helps play a key role. The resources are for farm-workers, towns in which manufactures have left, and other more rural parts of the US. the goal is to support low-income tenants and their families with their making rent payments on time.

Eligibility for USDA housing

As part of this program, those who qualify for help are generally individuals or families with very low or nonexistent income. Some of the other beneficiaries include senior citizens, the working poor with low incomes, elderly, and persons with disabilities. One of the key conditions is that an applicant cannot afford to pay their standard monthly rent with only 30 percent of their adjusted monthly income. This is why it is know as income based housing; the USDA pays some of the cost and the tenant pays some as well.

The federal government Rural Rental Assistance program (RA) provides an additional source of support for low income households. The USDA will pay the owner, landlord or property manager of a multifamily housing complex the difference between what the tenant can afford to pay (which is usually 30 percent of their income) and the total monthly rental rate that was established by the apartment owner.

While each state may establish regions that are covered by the Rural Development rent program, in general the federal and/or state government will allow this program to operate in towns and small communities that have less than 10,000 people living in them. Or in some cases a town of up to 25,000 residents may be eligible if they are so far from a major city. However these rules can change by state and may be altered at the national level as well.

Rural Development rental payments

The cash assistance is not provided directly to the family or individual. The monthly rental payment that is paid from the government will be in the form of a voucher, and it will be provided directly to the landlord or apartment owner. This is why it is very similar to HUD section 8. The amount provided will be based on what a fair rent should be for that part of the state and community. So the program will not pay for an individual to live in very expensive housing. All housing units need to also be considered safe and pass inspection.







In most years, the federal government provides over $900 million dollars in subsidies and vouchers to low income families as well as seniors who live in rural towns or cities. There may be financial support given to almost 300,000 families or individuals each year, and it allows them to live in safe, multifamily housing units or apartments. It brought down their monthly rental payments to much more affordable levels.

To learn more or apply, you can contact a Section 8 housing provider. Most of them are known as Public Housing Authorities. Or contact a USDA Rural Development field office.

By Jon McNamara

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