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USDA Invites Public Comments on Proposal to Streamline Eligibility Rules for Single Family Housing Programs

Erin McDuff
Release Date

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development is seeking comments on a proposal to simplify income eligibility and asset rules for its Single Family Housing Programs nationwide.

A USDA pilot program that began in 2016 found that using a two-tier income eligibility structure resulted in increased homeownership opportunities for low-income families. Oregon is one of the states currently participating in this pilot program.

USDA proposes to adopt nationwide the two-tier income structure used in the pilot program to determine eligibility for the Single Family Housing Direct Loan Program, Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program, and Single Family Housing Repair Loan and Grant Program. Currently, states not participating in the pilot program have eight income categories. Under the proposal, the two categories for household income limits would be:

  1. One- to four-person households
  2. Five- to eight-person households

Additionally, USDA proposes to exclude certain types of assets—including retirement, education, and health savings accounts—when calculating an applicant's down payment ability.

Rural Development is inviting comments from the public regarding this proposal. Comments must be received by October 30, 2018. Comments may be submitted using one of the following methods:

1. Federal eRulemaking Portal:

In the search box, search for the phrase "Single Family Housing Direct and Guaranteed Loan Programs" and select "Comment Now!" to the right of the search result.

2. Postal Mail / Commercial Delivery:

When submitting comments by mail, please state that your comments refer to the Single Family Housing Direct and Guaranteed Loan Programs proposed rule. Comments may be sent to the following address:

          U.S. Department of Agriculture
          Regulations and Paperwork Management Branch
          ATTN: Branch Chief
          1400 Independence Avenue SW
          Stop 0742
          Washington, DC 20250-0742

For more information on the proposed changes and how to submit comments, see page 44504 of the August 31, 2018, Federal Register. Questions related to USDA Single Family Housing Programs in Oregon may be directed to (866) 923-5626, extension 1.