USDA Housing Preservation Grant Program

USDA Housing Preservation Grant, also known as the HPG or section 553 is a federal grant program that aims to help homeowners or rental property owners who have very low incomes in repairing or rehabilitating their homes may they be individually owned or rented.

How USDA Housing Preservation Grant Works

The USDA Housing Preservation Grant works by providing funds to eligible organizations that focus on housing improvement, repair, and rehabilitation. These eligible organizations will use these funds for their program that aims to repair and improve the homes of eligible low-income households.
The grants or loans may cover any of the following:

• Repairing or replacing (if needed) house foundations, roof, insulation, heating or cooling systems, and the waste disposal system of the house;
• Materials and labour costs;
• Handicap accessibility;
• Administrative costs; and
• Additional expenses that fall under the Code of Federal Regulations or known as the CFR.

How USDA Housing Preservation Grant Works

The following types of organizations may be eligible to avail of the HPG funding:

1. State, commonwealth, political subdivisions, or trust territories;

2. Indian tribal organizations - this may include Alaskan Indians, Eskimos, Aleuts, or other native villages in the US;
3. Non-profit corporations (either public or private) - This includes faith-based organizations, community organizations that are supervised by private individuals and have intentions other than making a profit;

4. A consortium of organizations that share a common interest - this group of organizations should be composed of government units and other non-profit organizations that are within the same state and have experienced serving areas eligible for the USDA Rural Development assistance; or

5. Other organizations are authorized to receive HPG funding.
Eligible organizations are required to use the given funds in providing housing grants to eligible members of the community:

1. Households living in an open country;

2. Rural communities that have a population of less than 10,000; or

3. Communities that have a population of more or less 20,000 are under certain conditions.
4. Very low-income households or families;

5. Rental property owners who demonstrate a serious need for housing improvement; or

6. Co-ops are owned by very low-income individuals/families.

Take note that applicants should check with the Rural Development office if they are eligible for this grant.
Additional Requirements
Be reminded that the capacity of the organization to perform the objectives of the program as well as having a recent experience with rural housing rehabilitation is a crucial part of being eligible for the grant.

Further, once the application is approved, quarterly progress reports, as well as a final audit of accomplishments, are requisites to remain eligible for the HPG.

How to Apply for USDA Housing Preservation Grant?

Application for the USDA Housing Preservation Grant only opens once a year. Check for a Notice Of Solicitation for Application or NOSA posted in the Federal Register, including the steps and processes you will follow when you apply.

When applying, it is crucial to include specific plans and details on how you will use the funding and the type of assistance that you will need. For more details about this matter, contact the Rural Development office in your area or state.
Pre-application for USDA Housing Preservation Grant
It is important for organizations applying for this grant to provide a feasible and doable repair and rehabilitation program focused on households, homeowners, or rental property owners who have a very low-income status and are in need of housing repairs or rehabilitation. Applications are evaluated based on:
• The percentage of individuals assisted (who belong to the very low-income category);
• The percentage of the HPG funds to be used on housing preservation;
• The capacity and experience are demonstrated in the following aspects:
            ○ Weatherization and rehabilitation of houses;
            ○ Providing housing assistance to very low-income households; and
            ○ Prior programs that are relevant to housing rehabilitation.
• The program must be administered in rural areas having a population of less than 10,000 or in other remote areas with a population of less than 5,000;
• The program should utilize only 20 percent or less of the grant funds;
• The program should promote less overcrowding in dwellings occupied by very low-income households; and
• How the grantee demonstrated and achieved the objectives of the grant program.
Duration of the Grant Funding
The grant fund given to eligible organizations is good for a period of 12 months. Programs that exceed a 1 year period are required to file an agency consent. During the evaluation of applicant proposals, the highest-ranking applicants will be chosen based on the available funds allocated to the state.
Points will be acquired based on:

• The percentage of individuals that the program plans to assist;
• The percentage of the HPG funds from the total fund amount;
• The capacity to assist very low-income individuals/households;
• The program will be undertaken in rural areas;
• The program will use 20 percent or less of the HPG grant fund;
• The program promotes less overcrowding within the dwellings of eligible beneficiaries.
Housing Preservation Program Funding for The Fiscal Year 2021
The total funding of the HPG for the fiscal year 2021 is 15,150,000 US Dollars which is composed of:

• 12,150,000 US Dollars for distribution;
• 150,000 US Dollars for Rural Economic Area Part Zones;
• 1,350,000 US Dollars for National Office Reserve; and
• 1,500,000 US Dollars for relentless poverty.
Are There Other Requirements for USDA Housing Preservation Grant?
Other than the eligibility requirements stated earlier, there are no other requisites in applying for the HPG program. To know if there are any state-specific requirements in your area, contact the local Rural Development office.
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