Technical Assistance


CDFA Community Facilities Technical Assistance Program

The CDFA Community Facilities Technical Assistance Program brings together CDFA’s knowledge of development finance programs, along with the strategic support from private sector partners, to create a transferrable toolkit of finance programs and other resources capable of leveraging community facilities infrastructure in rural communities throughout the nation. This program includes resources accessible to every rural community, including a Rural Finance Resource Center, Rural Finance Newsletter, and Rural Finance Toolkit, along with targeted technical assistance support to six rural communities.

CDFA has worked with the USDA to develop an innovative technical assistance approach to support rural communities that have recently experienced a natural disaster. The goal of this program is to help rural communities utilize the USDA's Community Facilities Program along with identifying other potential development finance tools to aid in the rebuild and recovery after a natural disaster.

Key program elements include:

Community Technical Assistance
CDFA will provide technical assistance to communities from a dedicated team of two-three development finance experts. The selected communities will receive one on-site visit to discuss how the USDA Community Facilities Program can be used, a roadmap outlining recommendations and potential next steps, and ongoing support to apply for the USDA’s Community Facilities Program. Eligible communities must have a population of no more than 20,000 and have a Major Disaster Declaration from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for hurricanes or wildfires in 2018 or floods or tornadoes in 2019. CDFA maintains a list of eligible states and counties for this program, and rural communities are encouraged to contact CDFA to determine eligibility.
Apply for Technical Assistance

Rural Finance Toolkit
The Rural Finance Toolkit is a printable guide that provides rural communities with an easy-to-use, best practices resource on development finance tools.

Rural Development Finance Resource Center
The Rural Development Finance Resource Center is a searchable online tool available on the CDFA website to learn about rural development finance programs at the federal, state, and local levels, as well as resources and best practices from communities.
View Rural Development Finance Resource Center

Rural Finance Newsletter
The Rural Finance Newsletter is a periodic newsletter covering the latest headlines, developments, best practices and case studies related to development finance initiatives in rural communities.
View Rural Finance Newsletter

Rural Development Finance Webinar Series
The CDFA Rural Development Finance Webinar Series is a three-part series providing information and best practices about financing tools and programs specifically targeted for rural communities. View the webinar recordings below:
Financing Disaster Resiliency in Rural Communities
Assembling Capital for Rural Development
Best Practices for Rural Development Finance Agencies

-About the USDA Community Facilities Program

The Community Facilities Program is provided by USDA Rural Development to help support the financing and investment of essential facilities in rural communities. The Community Facilities Programs offer direct loans, loan guarantees and grants to develop or improve essential public services and facilities. These amenities help increase the competitiveness of rural communities in attracting and retaining businesses that provide employment and services for their residents.

Public bodies, non-profit organizations and federally recognized American Indian Tribes can use the funds to construct, expand or improve facilities that provide health care, education, public safety, and public services. Projects include fire and rescue stations, village and town halls, health care clinics, hospitals, adult and child care centers, assisted living facilities, rehabilitation centers, public buildings, schools, libraries, and many other community-based initiatives. Financing may also cover the costs for land acquisition, professional fees, and purchase of equipment. These facilities not only improve the basic quality of life but assist in the development and sustainability of rural America.

Using the Community Facilities Program

The Community Facilities Program provides affordable funding to develop essential community facilities, which is a facility that provides an essential service to the local community for the orderly development of the community. It must carry out a function customarily provided by a local unit of government. The facility must be located in a rural area with a population of no more than 20,000 and primarily serve rural residents. The facility must be operated on a nonprofit basis and does not include private affairs, commercial, or business undertakings (except for limited authority for industrial parks).

Eligible borrowers include:
  • Public bodies
  • Community-based nonprofit corporations
  • Federally recognized Tribes
Funds can be used to purchase, construct, and/or improve essential community facilities, purchase equipment and pay related project expenses. Examples of essential community facilities include:
  • Healthcare facilities such as hospitals, medical clinics, dental clinics, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, or facilities that provide for the prevention, treatment, and recovery of substance misuse disorders.
  • Public facilities such as townhalls, courthouses, airport hangers, bridges, port authorities, or street improvements.
  • Community support services such as child care centers, adult daycare, homeless shelters, community centers, or transitional housing.
  • Public safety services such as fire departments, police stations, prisons, police vehicles, fire trucks, public works vehicles or equipment.
  • Educational services such as schools, colleges and universities, community colleges, charter schools, vocational and technical schools, dormitories, museums, or libraries.
  • Local food systems such as community gardens, food pantries, community kitchens, foodbanks, food hubs, or greenhouses.
  • E-Connectivity end-user equipment to include distance learning equipment, telemedicine equipment, and health information technology equipment as well as internal wiring and publicly available Wi-Fi capability within a facility.
For a complete list of eligible loan purposes, see 7 CFR, Part 1942.17(d).

Example Projects

Robert Russa Moton Museum
Farmville, VA
The former Robert Russa Moton High School in Farmville, VA was reimagined into the Robert Russa Moton Museum to honor the cultural significance of the area. The project required approximately $5 million in capital, with $2 million for the exhibit design, fabrication, and installation, $1.5 million for renovation, and $1.5 million for ongoing operation. Sources of project capital included USDA Rural Development Community Facilities, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant, Virginia Community Capital, Virginia Tobacco Commission, and several private capital and foundation grants.

Shepard Youth Ranch
Franklinton, NC
Shepard Youth Ranch is an equine-assisted therapy organization in North Carolina. The Shepard Youth Ranch received a USDA – Rural Development Community Facilities Direct Loan funding of $450,000 which was combined with $50,000 of donor monetary contributions to purchase thirty-three acres of land with conducive development to administer Equine Assisted Therapy. This community investment provides local services to children with developmental disabilities and at risk teens living in Rural North Carolina.

Sioux Center Health
Sioux Center, IA
Sioux Center Health in Iowa received a $25 million Community Facilities loan to expand its clinic and senior-living facilities. Proceeds of the loan will be used to expand the clinic and nursing facilities as we all as add new space to include a kitchen, dining room, café, salon, bank, post office and theater area. The assisted-living facility will update garages and common areas, add a new main entrance, and add 24 assisted-living and 16 memory-care units. Additional funding was provided by private donations and grants and bank debt.

Additional Resources

USDA Community Facilities Programs
Community Facilities Fact Sheet
Community Facilities Infrastructure Toolkit
Community Facilities Guidance Book for Applicants
Community Facilities Location Policy

The CDFA Community Facilities Technical Assistance Program was prepared by the Council of Development Finance Agencies using Federal funds from USDA Rural Development. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the USDA.