The National Rural Housing Coalition and our members strongly support federal programs that protect opportunities for affordable rural homeownership. Two of these programs — the Section 502 Direct Loan program and the Section 523 Mutual Self-Help Housing program — stand out as two of the best ways to meet rural housing needs. By examining the successful track records of thes programs, and by adopting practical measures to expand and improve their performance, our nation can better address the unique housing challenges in rural America.
Like all USDA Rural Housing programs, Section 502 Direct Loans and Section 523 Mutual Self-Help Housing help improve quality of life and economic opportunity in rural America, serving our most vulnerable residents — low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities.
Over 60 years, the Section 502 Direct Loan Program has helped more than 2.1 million families realize the American Dream and build their wealth by more than $40 billion. It is the only federal homeownership program that is exclusively targeted to very low- and low-income rural families.
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Self-Help Housing is the only federal program that combines “sweat equity” homeownership opportunities with technical assistance and affordable loans for America’s rural families. Self-Help Housing families work nights and weekends to provide 65 percent of the construction labor on their own and each other’s homes. In doing so, families earn equity, decrease construction costs, and make lasting investments in their community.
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