The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) presents regular information and data on USDA’s rural housing loan and grant obligation activity.

USDA Rural Development Obligations FY 19 – February

The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) presents this month’s report on Fiscal Year 2019 USDA Rural Housing program obligations.

As of the end of February, USDA obligated 35,131 loans, loan guarantees, and grants totaling about $4.9 billion. This is about $2.0 million less than obligation levels from the same time last year when there were 49,912 loans, loan guarantees, and grants obligated totaling about $6.9 billion.

 

The agency has been operating under several continuing resolutions and a 35-day government shutdown since October 1, 2019.The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019 was signed into law on February 15, 2019 which provided funding for the rest of the fiscal yearSingle Family Housing Program Highlights

The Section 502 Guaranteed loan program, the largest of the Single Family Housing programs, obligated $4.6 billion (32,217 loan guarantees) down from $6.5 billion (45,125) at the same time last year.

For the Section 502 Direct program, there have been about $209.7 million (1,318 loans), down from $305.8 million (2,110 loans) in loan obligations this time last year. Very low-income (VLI) loan obligations as a percentage of the total Section 502 Direct loan dollars was over 40 percent.

The Section 504 Repair and Rehabilitation programs obligated 668 loans representing about $4.0 million. Loan volume was down from this time last year (1,027 loans representing $6.1 million.) There were also $5.2 million (877 grants) obligated in the Section 504 grant program compared to $9.9 million (1,605 grants) at the same time last year.

USDA’s Section 523 Self Help Housing Grant program funded 4 grants totaling $2.9 million which is up from last year at this time when funding totaled $1.5 million.

USDA has also funded 2 credit sales representing $157,785.

Multifamily Housing Program Highlights

USDA Section 538 Multifamily Housing obligated 39 loan guarantees totaling $58 million, up from 23 loan guarantees ($34.9 million.) In the Section 515 Rural Rental Housing program, there were 4 loans totaling $5.0 million obligated compared to 6 loans totaling $6.1 million this time last year. There were also no MPR loans or grants compared to 6 loans (4.8 million) and 1 grant ($15,400) this time last year.

USDA obligated funds for 97,544 rental assistance units under the Section 521 Rental Assistance program totaling $490 million. This compares to about 92,941 units ($472.6 million) obligated same time last year. There were also 2,530 Rural Housing Vouchers totaling $10.8 million compared to 2,629 vouchers representing $11.0 million this time last year.

In the Farm Labor Housing programs, 1 loan and 1 grant have been funded totaling $1.5 million and $700,000 respectively. Last year, there were no loans or grants at this time.

There were also 0 Section 533 Housing Preservation grants obligated so far this year, similar to last year.

Download the combined document.

* The Rural Housing Service (RHS) monthly obligation reports are produced by the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) 1025 Vermont Ave., NW, Suite 606, Washington, DC 20005. The monthly figures derive from HAC tabulations of USDA –RHS 205c, d, and f report data. For questions or comments about the obligation reports, please contact Michael Feinberg at 202-842-8600 or michael@ruralhome.org.

Broadband loans and guarantees program NOFA (11/15/18)

Agency USDA RD RUS
Action NOFA
Date 11/15/18
Link https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/11/15/2018-24860/rural-broadband-access-loans-and-loan-guarantees-program

USDA’s Rural Utilities Service is accepting applications through Sept. 30, 2019 for the FY19 Rural Broadband Access Loans and Loan Guarantees Program. Applications will be evaluated every 90 days.

Environmental review for RD infrastructure projects (11/23/18)

Agency USDA RD
Action Final rule and proposed rule
Date 11/23/18
Link https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/11/23/2018-25523/rural-development-environmental-regulation-for-rural-infrastructure-projects

USDA RD wants to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of its environmental reviews for infrastructure. This does not apply to housing programs; it is relevant for broadband, electricity, water, sewer, etc. This rule change gives the RD Administrators limited flexibility to obligate funds for infrastructure projects prior to the completion of the environmental review process where the assurance that funds will be available is important for community health, safety, or economic development. The environmental review process must be completed prior to disbursement of any RD funds.
RD is posting this simultaneously as a “direct final rule” (URL above) and a proposed rule. It will be effective January 7, 2019, unless RD receives significant adverse comments or notice of an intent to submit a significant adverse comment by December 24, 2018.

Rural housing loan servicing, change of authority (11/29/18)

Agency USDA RD RHS
Action Final rule
Date 11/29/18
Link https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/11/29/2018-25443/revision-of-delegations-of-authority

To reflect changes in USDA organization, numerous functions are being moved around, including the following for RD and RHS. Management support functions for the RD agencies are now consolidated in the RD Business Center, so this rule moves authority related to environmental laws to the Business Center rather than RHS, RBS and RUS. It also moves authority to service RHS single-family loans to the RD Business Center. It gives the Assistant to the Secretary for RD the authority to transfer loan servicing for multifamily housing, community facilities, RUS and RBS to the RD Business Center in the future.

Intermediary Relending Program – change in application (12/6/18)

Agency USDA RD RBS
Action Information collection request
Date 12/6/18
Link https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/12/06/2018-26435/information-collection-activity-comment-request

USDA is requesting OMB approval of an unspecified revision of its application for the IRP.

ReConnect rural broadband program NOFA (12/14/18)

Agency USDA RD RUS
Action NOFA
Date 12/14/18
Link https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/12/14/2018-27038/broadband-pilot-program

RUS is offering loans, grants, and loan/grant combinations to finance provision of broadband infrastructure in underserved rural areas. The NOFA includes tentative deadlines and says they will be finalized by notices in the Federal Register and on grants.gov on Feb. 22, 2019.
A notice in the Feb. 25, 2019 Federal Register announced the final deadlines and said a notice in March would announce when USDA will begin accepting applications.

Section 538 rolling applications (12/17/18)

Agency USDA RD RHS
Action Proposed rule
Date 12/17/18
Link https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/12/17/2018-27138/section-538-guaranteed-rural-rental-housing-program-notice-of-funding-availability-elimination

RD plans to stop publishing an annual NOFA for Section 538 multifamily loan guarantees and accept applications continuously. It will use the standards from the last NOFA, published in the Federal Register on December 21, 2017, and will announce any changes in the Federal Register.
Comments are due February 15, 2019.

Section 502 direct – graduation (12/28/18)

Agency USDA RD RHS
Action Information Collection Request
Date 12/28/18
Link https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/12/28/2018-28226/information-collection-activity-comment-request

RHS is requesting comments on revising its collection of information from Section 502 direct borrowers to determine whether they are able to graduate to other credit. This notice does not say what revisions are proposed.
Comments are due February 26, 2019.

Section 538 continuous loan guarantee (2/7/19)

Agency USDA RD RHS
Action Notice
Date 2/7/19
Link https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/02/07/2019-01350/guaranteed-rural-rental-housing-low-loan-to-cost-ratio

USDA is increasing the low loan-to-cost ratio required for loans guaranteed under Option Three (Continuous Guarantee, i.e., a single guarantee for construction and permanent loans) of the Section 538 rental guarantee program. Previously the loan-to-cost ratio was required to be at least 50% for a loan to be eligible. As of Feb. 7, 2019 (the date this notice was published), the ratio must be at least 70%.

ReConnect rural broadband program (2/25/19)

Agency USDA RD Rural Utilities Service
Action NOFA
Date 2/25/19
Link https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/02/25/2019-03163/broadband-pilot-program-reconnect-program

The NOFA for this program was published in the December 14, 2018, Federal Register Notice with tentative application deadlines. This notice establishes the final deadlines (three different dates because there are three funding categories): July 12, June 21, and May 31, 2019. Another notice will be published in March 2019 announcing the date when USDA will start accepting applications.