Financial assistance by Secretary of Agriculture
Authorization and purposes of assistance
The Secretary of Agriculture (hereinafter referred to as the “Secretary”) is authorized, subject to the terms and conditions of this subchapter, to extend financial assistance, through the Farmers Home Administration, (1) to owners of farms in the United States and in the Territories of Alaska and Hawaii and in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the territories and possessions of the United States, and the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, to enable them to construct, improve, alter, repair, or replace dwellings and other farm buildings on their farms, and to purchase buildings and land constituting a minimum adequate site, in order to provide them, their tenants, lessees, sharecroppers, and laborers with decent, safe, and sanitary living conditions and adequate farm buildings as specified in this subchapter, and (2) to owners of other real estate in rural areas for the construction, improvement, alteration, or repair of dwellings, related facilities, and farm buildings and to rural residents, including persons who reside in reservations or villages of Indian tribes, for such purposes and for the purchase of buildings and the purchase of land constituting a minimum adequate site, in order to enable them to provide dwellings and related facilities for their own use and buildings adequate for their farming operations, and (3) to elderly or handicapped persons or families who are or will be the owners of land in rural areas for the construction, improvement, alteration, or repair of dwellings and related facilities, the purchase of dwellings and related facilities and the purchase of land constituting a minimum adequate site, in order to provide them with adequate dwellings and related facilities for their own use, and (4) to an owner described in clause (1), (2), or (3) for refinancing indebtedness which—
(A) was incurred for an eligible purpose described in such clause, and
(i) if not refinanced, is likely to result (because of circumstances beyond the control of the applicant) at an early date in the loss of the applicant’s necessary dwelling or essential farm service buildings, or
(ii) if combined (in the case of a dwelling that the Secretary finds not to be decent, safe, and sanitary) with a loan for improvement, rehabilitation, or repairs and not refinanced, is likely to result in the applicant’s continuing to be deprived of a decent, safe, and sanitary dwelling.
(5) 1For purposes of this subchapter, the terms “repair”, “repairs”, “rehabilitate”, and “rehabilitation” include measures to evaluate and reduce lead-based paint hazards, as such terms are defined in section 4851b of this title.
1 So in original. Definitions
(1) For the purpose of this subchapter, the term “farm” shall mean a parcel or parcels of land operated as a single unit which is used for the production of one or more agricultural commodities and which customarily produces or is capable of producing such commodities for sale and for home use of a gross annual value of not less than the equivalent of a gross annual value of $400 in 1944, as determined by the Secretary. The Secretary shall promptly determine whether any parcel or parcels of land constitute a farm for the purposes of this subchapter whenever requested to do so by any interested Federal, State, or local public agency, and his determination shall be conclusive.
(2) For the purposes of this subchapter, the terms “owner” and “mortgage” shall be deemed to include, respectively, the lessee of, and other security interest in, any leasehold interest which the Secretary determines has an unexpired term (A) in the case of a loan, for a period sufficiently beyond the repayment period of the loan to provide adequate security and a reasonable probability of accomplishing the objectives for which the loan is made, and (B) in the case of a grant for a period sufficient to accomplish the objectives for which the grant is made.
(3) For the purposes of this subchapter, the term “elderly or handicapped persons or families” means families which consist of two or more persons, the head of which (or his or her spouse) is at least sixty-two years of age or is handicapped. Such term also means a single person who is at least sixty-two years of age or is handicapped. A person shall be considered handicapped if such person is determined, pursuant to regulations issued by the Secretary, to have an impairment which (A) is expected to be of long-continued and indefinite duration, (B) substantially impedes his ability to live independently, and (C) is of such a nature that such ability could be improved by more suitable housing conditions, or if such person has a developmental disability as defined in section 15002 of this title. The Secretary shall prescribe such regulations as may be necessary to prevent abuses in determining, under the definitions contained in this paragraph, eligibility of families and persons for admission to and occupancy of housing constructed with assistance under this subchapter. Notwithstanding the preceding provisions of this paragraph, such term also includes two or more elderly (sixty-two years of age or over) or handicapped persons living together, one or more such persons living with another person who is determined (under regulations prescribed by the Secretary) to be essential to the care or well-being of such persons, and the surviving member or members of any family described in the first sentence of this paragraph who were living, in a unit assisted under this subchapter, with the deceased member of the family at the time of his or her death.
(4) For the purpose of this subchapter, the terms “low income families or persons” and “very low-income families or persons” means those families and persons whose incomes do not exceed the respective levels established for lower income families and very low-income families under the United States Housing Act of 1937 [42 U.S.C. 1437 et seq.]. Notwithstanding the preceding sentence, the maximum income levels established for purposes of this subchapter for such families and persons in the Virgin Islands shall not be less than the highest such levels established for purposes of this subchapter for such families and persons in American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. The temporary absence of a child from the home due to placement in foster care should not be considered in considering family composition and family size. (5) (A) For the purpose of this subchapter, the terms “income” and “adjusted income” have the meanings given by sections 3(b)(4) and 3(b)(5), respectively, of the United States Housing Act of 1937 [42 U.S.C. 1437a(b)(4), (5)].
(B) For purposes of this subchapter, the term “income” does not include dividends received from the Alaska Permanent Fund by a person who was under the age of 18 years when that person qualified for the dividend.
(6) For the purposes of this subchapter, the term “Indian tribe” means any Indian tribe, band, group, and nation, including Alaska Indians, Aleuts, and Eskimos, and any Alaskan Native Village, of the United States, which is considered an eligible recipient under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (Public Law 93–638) [25 U.S.C. 5301 et seq.] or was considered an eligible recipient under chapter 67 of title 31 prior to the repeal of such chapter.
(7) For the purposes of this subchapter, the term “rural resident” shall include a family or a person who is a renter of a dwelling unit in a rural area.
(8) For the purposes of this subchapter, the term “adequate dwelling” means a decent, safe, and sanitary dwelling unit.
Conditions of eligibility
In order to be eligible for the assistance authorized by subsection (a), the applicant must show (1) that he is the owner of a farm which is without a decent, safe, and sanitary dwelling for himself and his family and necessary resident farm labor, or for the family of the operating tenant, lessee, or sharecropper, or without other farm buildings adequate for the type of farming in which he engages or desires to engage, or that he is the owner of other real estate in a rural area or a rural resident without an adequate dwelling or related facilities for his own use or buildings adequate for his farming operations, or that the applicant is an elderly or handicapped person or family in a rural area without an adequate dwelling or related facility for its own use, or that he is the owner of a farm or other real estate in a rural area who needs refinancing of indebtedness described in clause (4) of subsection (a); (2) that he is without sufficient resources to provide the necessary housing and buildings on his own account; and (3) that he is unable to secure the credit necessary for such housing and buildings from other sources upon terms and conditions which he could reasonably be expected to fulfill. If an applicant is a State or local public agency or Indian tribe—
(A) the provisions of clause (3) shall not apply to its application; and
(B) the applicant shall be eligible to participate in any program under this subchapter if the persons or families to be served by the applicant with the assistance being sought would be eligible to participate in such program.
As used in this subchapter (except in sections 1473 and 1474(b) of this title) the terms “farm”, “farm dwelling”, and “farm housing” shall include dwellings or other essential buildings of eligible applicants.
Prepayment of taxes, insurance, and other expenses; advances to account of borrower: interest, time for repayment
The Secretary shall establish procedures under which borrowers under this subchapter are required to make periodic payments for the purpose of taxes, insurance, and other necessary expenses as the Secretary may deem appropriate. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, such payments shall not be considered public funds. The Secretary shall direct the disbursement of the funds at the appropriate time or times for the purposes for which the funds were escrowed. The Secretary shall pay the same rate of interest on escrowed funds as is required to be paid on escrowed funds held by other lenders in any State where State law requires payment of interest on escrowed funds, subject to appropriations to the extent that additional budget authority is necessary to carry out this sentence. If the prepayments made by the borrower are not sufficient to pay the amount due, advances may be made by the Secretary to pay the costs in full, which advances shall be charged to the account of the borrower, bear interest, and be payable in a timely fashion as determined by the Secretary. The Secretary shall notify a borrower in writing when loan payments are delinquent.
Increase in loan limits
With respect to any limitation on the amount of any loan which may be made, insured, or guaranteed under this subchapter for the purchase of a dwelling unit, the Secretary may increase such amount by up to 20 percent if such increase is necessary to account for the increased cost of the dwelling unit due to the installation of a solar energy system (as defined in subparagraph (3) of the last paragraph of section 1703(a) of title 12) therein.
Avoidance of involuntary displacement of families and businesses
The programs authorized by this subchapter shall be carried out, consistent with program goals and objectives, so that the involuntary displacement of families and businesses is avoided.
Eligibility of resident aliens
The Secretary may not restrict the availability of assistance under this subchapter for any alien for whom assistance may not be restricted under section 1436a of this title.
Loan packaging by nonprofit organizations as a “development cost”
For the purposes of this subchapter, the term “development cost” shall include the packaging of loan and grant applications and actions related thereto by public and private nonprofit organizations tax exempt under title 26.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary shall not transfer any program authorized by this subchapter to the Rural Development Administration.
(July 15, 1949, ch. 338, title V, § 501, 63 Stat. 432; Pub. L. 87–70, title VIII, §§ 801(a), 803, June 30, 1961, 75 Stat. 186; Pub. L. 87–723, § 4(a)(1), Sept. 28, 1962, 76 Stat. 670; Pub. L. 89–117, title X, § 1001, Aug. 10, 1965, 79 Stat. 497; Pub. L. 89–754, title VIII, §§ 801, 807, Nov. 3, 1966, 80 Stat. 1282; Pub. L. 91–609, title VIII, § 802, Dec. 31, 1970, 84 Stat. 1806; Pub. L. 93–383, title V, §§ 501–503, 505(a), 520, Aug. 22, 1974, 88 Stat. 692, 693, 699; Pub. L. 95–128, title V, §§ 503, 507(a)(1), (2), (b), Oct. 12, 1977, 91 Stat. 1139–1141; Pub. L. 95–619, title II, § 248(c), Nov. 9, 1978, 92 Stat. 3235; Pub. L. 96–153, title V, §§ 502(b), 506, Dec. 21, 1979, 93 Stat. 1134, 1136; Pub. L. 96–399, title V, §§ 506, 507(a), (h), 512, Oct. 8, 1980, 94 Stat. 1669–1671; Pub. L. 98–181, title I [title V, § 502], Nov. 30, 1983, 97 Stat. 1240; Pub. L. 98–479, title I, § 105(a), title II, § 203(d)(3), Oct. 17, 1984, 98 Stat. 2226, 2229; Pub. L. 99–272, title XIV, § 14001(b)(3), Apr. 7, 1986, 100 Stat. 328; Pub. L. 100–242, title III, §§ 302(a), (b)(1), 303, 315, 316(a), Feb. 5, 1988, 101 Stat. 1893, 1894, 1897; Pub. L. 101–625, title VII, §§ 702, 703, Nov. 28, 1990, 104 Stat. 4282, 4283; Pub. L. 102–550, title VII, § 714, title X, § 1012(m), Oct. 28, 1992, 106 Stat. 3842, 3907; Pub. L. 104–193, title IV, § 441(b), Aug. 22, 1996, 110 Stat. 2276; Pub. L. 106–402, title IV, § 401(b)(8), Oct. 30, 2000, 114 Stat. 1738; Pub. L. 107–76, title VII, § 752, Nov. 28, 2001, 115 Stat. 740; Pub. L. 108–199, div. A, title VII, § 768, Jan. 23, 2004, 118 Stat. 40.)