Changes in Rural Housing Eligibility Definition Delayed by Continuing Resolution

September 25, 2014 – USDA Rural Development says that the continuing resolution (CR) to extend FY14 funding levels through December 11 also extends a provision related to the definition of rural used for the USDA rural housing programs. The FY14 appropriations law prohibited declaring any communities ineligible for the rural housing programs if they were eligible on September 30, 2013. President Obama signed the continuing resolution into law on September 19. As its name implies, the CR continues provisions of the FY14 law, including the prohibition on making places ineligible.

If a new FY15 appropriations law had been enacted, communities could have been determined ineligible based on population – if their populations grew to over 35,000 – or based on no longer being considered “rural in character.” USDA recently suspended all “rural in character” changes until at least September 30, 2015, so the CR’s suspension of ineligibility applies only to places with populations over 35,000. It will last until Congress enacts, and the President signs, an FY15 USDA appropriations law. It is possible that additional CRs will be adopted beyond December 11, maybe even for all of fiscal year 2015 (through September 30, 2015).