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What is the Rural Housing Service?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 19 March 2018
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The Rural Housing Service (RHS) is an agency within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) which works to improve the quality of life in rural areas in the United States. It offers a number of programs which benefit rural communities and their residents. One of the most famous programs provided through the Rural Housing Service is the low income loan subsidy plan which is designed to make home ownership affordable for low income residents of rural areas.

Although loan subsidies are a notable part of the services offered, they are far from the only thing available. The Rural Housing Service also provides loans for new construction in rural areas if that construction will result in housing suitable for low income people, especially families, older adults, and people with disabilities. In addition, low income people can apply for assistance with rehabilitation and repair of structures, including restoration of badly damaged structures.

One mission of the Rural Housing Service is to promote home ownership in rural areas. Another aspect of the services provided by this agency is provision of safe, sanitary, and pleasant housing to people who cannot buy homes or are not interested in home ownership. This includes low income tenants in need of rental assistance and farm workers who need housing while they provide services to farmers. Improving quality of life for all people including temporary residents like seasonal workers is an important part of the work done by the Rural Housing Service.

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The Rural Housing Service is also interested in community development. The agency helps to fund schools, fire departments, hospitals, community centers, and other facilities and services which benefit rural communities. Many rural communities lack the funds to pay for such facilities on their own, and the Rural Housing Service makes a full range of community services more accessible and obtainable. Communities which demonstrate sufficient need in grant applications can access funds for a variety of community projects through the Rural Housing Service.

Rural Housing Service agents are accessible through the agency's website and also through the agency's phone number. People who may qualify for assistance through the RHS can also get information from people like bank staffers and mortgage brokers who provide assistance with the process of applying for home loans. Those who are unsure about whether or not to apply for assistance through the Rural Housing Service can ask for more information including information about income requirements.

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