The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced the availability of $25 million in grants to help rural and tribal communities address distressed housing conditions and concentrated poverty.

HUD’s new Rural Innovation Fund offers grants of up to $2 million to support innovative housing and economic development activities. “These grants will stimulate new approaches to old problems, particularly in areas struggling with poor housing conditions and deep poverty,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan.

Eligible applicants include federally recognized Indian tribes, state housing finance agencies, state community development agencies, local rural nonprofits, community development corporations, or consortia of these groups.

The funding can be used to support a variety of housing and economic development activities, including construction, preparation of plans, land acquisition, demolition, homeownership counseling, and financial assistance.

Applicants may apply for only one of three grant types:

  • Single-purpose Grants—At least $7.5 million will be awarded to applicants that identify a specific area of need, with maximum individual grants of up to $300,000. HUD is encouraging, though not requiring, applicants to address both housing and economic development needs within the defined “project area.”
  • Comprehensive Grants—Up to $2 million will go to applicants that comprehensively examine the social, housing, and economic needs of a target area and address those needs through activities that leverage other sources of public and private financing. Eligible activities under this category are broader than those outlined in the single-purpose grant category. Highly ranked applicants can also be expected to work closely and leverage resources with regional entities in order to promote economic competitiveness beyond the local level.
  • Economic Development and Entrepreneurship for Federally Recognized Tribes—At least $5 million is slated to be awarded to support economic development and entrepreneurship opportunities for federally recognized tribes, with maximum individual grants up to $800,000.

HUD anticipates posting its funding notice on by Dec. 10.