Mutual Self-Help Housing Grants (523)

  • Meleah Smith
  • Housing Program Director
  • USDA Rural Development
  • 2118 West Park Court, Suite A,
  • Champaign, IL 61821
  • Phone: 217-403-6229
  • Fax:
  • TDD:
  • Email:
  • Website Link:

Purpose of the Program

Technical Assistance Grants and Site Loans are provided to nonprofit and local government organizations, which supervise groups of 4 to 12 enrollees in the Self-Help Program. Members of each group help work on each others homes, moving in only when all the homes are completed.

Once accepted into the Self-Help Housing Program, each individual enrollee generally applies for a Single-Family Housing Direct Loan (Section 502).


Who is Eligible

State Directors may approve site loans for up to $200,000. Larger loans require prior approval of the National Office.

Application Process

Section 523 loans are limited to private or public nonprofit organizations that will provide sites solely for self-help housing.  Homeowners must provide 65 of necessary labor. Grants made to rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less.

Availability of Funds

Loans are for two years. Section 523 loans bear 3 percent interest.

How Funds are to be used

Funds are used by public or private non-profit organizations to buy and develop building sites, including the construction of access roads, streets, and utilities.  Sites developed under this program may be sold to individuals.

Types of Assistance

Technical Assistance, Grants, Loans

Year Program was established