Several programs are available that sponsor grants for individuals to purchase land to build homes or for agricultural and conservation purposes. Funds are also used to purchase equipment and cover administrative and labor expenses. These grants do not have to be repaid by the recipients. Some grant programs, however, require recipients to match award amounts with funds from other sources.
Farmland Protection Program
Individuals are eligible to receive grants under the Farmland Protection Program to purchase conservation easements, which is agricultural land, to prevent it from being used for non-agricultural purposes. Other eligible applicants include state, municipalities, counties and tribal government agencies. Individuals must apply to their local government agencies to receive grant funds. Recipients are required by the grant program to pay up to 25 percent of the land acquisition with funds from other sources. This program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Robert Glennon Easement Programs Division Natural Resources Conservation Service Department of Agriculture P.O. Box 2890 Washington, DC 20013 202-720-9476 nrcs.usda.gov
Self-Help Homeownership Program
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development sponsors the Self-Help Homeownership Program, or SHOP. Grants from this program are used to acquire land and construct homes for low-income home buyers. As part of grant agreement, home buyers must provide help during the construction of their homes by providing physical labor, or "sweat equity." Grants are open to nonprofit organizations that have built at least 30 SHOP homes in the last 24 months. The total amount for SHOP projects cannot exceed $15,000. Administrative costs are covered by the grants. Up to 20 percent of the award amount is allotted for these expenses.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 451 7th Street SW Washington, DC 20410 202-708-1112 hud.gov
Farm Labor Housing Loans and Grants
Agricultural producers can apply for grants for land acquisitions to build housing units that are occupied by seasonal farm laborers through the Farm Labor Housing Loans and Grants program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Grants are also used to make renovations to existing structures and for the construction of facilities such as laundromats and day care centers for the workers' use. Only documented workers who make a large part of their income from farming are eligible to stay in the housing units. Nonprofit corporations of farmers, state and tribal government agencies, and public and private nonprofit organizations are also eligible to apply for these grants. Up to 10 percent of the grant amount must be matched by the recipients with funds from outside sources.
USDA Rural Development Preservation and Direct Loan Division 1400 Independence Ave. SW Mail Stop 0782 Washington, DC 20250–0781 202-720-1604 rurdev.usda.gov