Community Facilities

USDA Rural Development administers the Community Facilities Program on behalf of the Rural Housing Service. Rural Development is authorized to administer direct loans and guaranteed loans in rural areas. A rural area, as it applies to the CF program, is defined as any city, town or unincorporated area with a population of 20,000 or less, other than an urbanized area immediately adjacent to a city, town or unincorporated area with a population in excess of 20,000 residents. Public bodies, nonprofit corporations, and federally recognized Indian Tribes can be eligible applicants.

Community Facilities Direct and Guaranteed Loans:

Funds can be used for construction, land acquisition, legal fees, architect fees, capitalized interest, equipment, initial operation and maintenance costs, project contingencies, and any other cost that is determined by Rural Development to be necessary for the completion of the project.

Direct loans may be obtained for 100% of eligible project costs subject to adequate security, ability to repay, applicant's authority to borrow, and availability of funds. Repayment terms cannot exceed the useful life of the security or 40 years. Interest rate is dependent on the median household income of the service area.

Rural Development has the authority to administer guaranteed loans made by eligible lenders to eligible borrowers. The guarantee may be up to 90% of loss of principal and interest on a loan, however, guarantees normally will not exceed 80% unless extraordinary circumstances exist.

Community Facilities Grants:

Grants are made on a graduated basis for developing essential community facilities in rural areas. For the grant program, rural area means a city or town that has a population of 20,000 or less, or an unincorporated area. To be eligible for grant consideration, the median household income to the population to be served must not exceed $33,794.

Eligible grant applicants are public entities, such as a city, town, county or special purpose district, nonprofit corporations, or federally recognized Indian tribes. Grant applicants must be unable to finance the proposed project from their own resources, through commercial credit at reasonable rates and terms, or other legal authority necessary for construction, operation, and maintenance of the proposed facility. Eligible projects must be consistent with the state's strategic plan.

Grant assistance will be provided on a graduated scale with higher grant funds going to small communities with the lowest median household income.

Federal grant funds may be used to pay up to 75% of the cost to develop the essential community facility. The remaining 25% becomes the applicant's responsibility. Other CF financial assistance, or applicant contribution will enable grant funds to reach a broader range of rural economic development efforts. The graduated scale for grant assistance for eligible assistance for eligible project costs is as follows:

Maximum Federal Grant

If population is:

And median household income is:

75% of eligible project costs

5,000  or less

$22,529 or less

55% of eligible project costs

15,000 or less

$26,284 or less

35% of eligible project costs

20,000 or less

$30,039 or less

15% of eligible project costs

20,000 or less

$33,794 or less

To better utilize limited funds, the maximum amount of grant assistance is further limited to the minimum amount needed for the project to be feasible and this amount shall not exceed 50 percent of a state's annual allocation or $50,000, whichever is greater.

Rural Community Development Initiative:

The Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) program provides technical assistance and training funds to qualified intermediary organizations to develop their capacity to undertake housing, community facilities, and community and economic development projects in rural areas. Intermediaries are required to have a dollar for dollar matching fund requirement, intended to double the impact of the grants. Qualified organizations can be public or private (including tribal organizations) that have been legally organized for at least 3 years and have experience working with eligible recipients. Recipients of assistance from the intermediary can be non-profit organizations, low-income communities, or federally recognized tribes.


Funds for health care facilities include:
- Hospitals
- Nursing homes
- Residential Care Facilities
- Dental Clinics
- Medical Clinics
- Rehabilitation Centers

Funds for public safety facilities include:
- Jails
- Fire Stations / Fire Trucks
- Police Stations

Funds for public service facilities include:
- Libraries
- Schools
- Roads, Bridges, and Street Improvements
- Day Care Facilities
- Airports
- Community Centers
- County Courthouses
- Other Essential Community Facilities

For more information contact:

Michele J. Cardwell, Community Facilities Program Director
Strom Thurmond Federal Building
1835 Assembly Street - Room 1007
Columbia, SC 29201
(803) 253-3645
FAX: (855) 565-9482