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USDA Invites Public Comments on Proposal to Accept Guaranteed Rural Rental Housing Program Applications on a Continuous Basis

Erin McDuff
Release Date

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development is seeking comments on a proposal that would enable the agency to accept and process applications for the Guaranteed Rural Rental Housing Program, also known as the Section 538 Program, on a continuous basis.

Under the proposal, Rural Development would eliminate the requirement to publish an annual notice of funding availability (NOFA). In lieu of the NOFA process, the Guaranteed Rural Rental Housing Program would follow procedures similar to other Rural Development guaranteed loan programs and accept applications on a continuous basis, including under circumstances such as when the Federal Government operates under a continuing resolution.

This proposal would benefit developers that use tax credits to finance properties for low-income residents. Eliminating the publication of an annual NOFA will prevent scenarios in which a NOFA is published after the deadline to apply for low-income housing tax credits has passed.

Rural Development is inviting comments from the public regarding this proposal. Comments must be received by February 15, 2019, and may be submitted using one of the following methods:

1. Federal eRulemaking Portal:

Visit docket RHS_FRDOC_0001-0392 and select "Comment Now!" in the upper right of the screen.

2. Postal Mail / Commercial Delivery:

When submitting comments by mail, please state that your comments refer to the Section 538 Guaranteed Rural Rental Housing Program Notice of Funding Availability Elimination proposed rule. Comments may be sent to the following address:

          U.S. Department of Agriculture
          Rural Development Innovation Center
          ATTN: Michele L. Brooks, Regulations Team Lead
          1400 Independence Avenue SW
          Stop 1522, Room 1562
          Washington, DC 20250-1522

For more information on the proposed changes and how to submit comments, see page 64488 of the December 17, 2018, Federal Register.