Rural Innovation Fund

The Rural Innovation Fund (RIF) is a program designed to improve the quality of life for residents of distressed rural areas by supporting innovative and catalytic economic development and housing projects. The program is modeled to support:

  • Job creation through business development and expansion
  • Investment in human capital through job training and education
  • Expansion of the supply of affordable housing with access to job centers or transportation

RIF grantees were selected through a competitive process with the ultimate goal of funding grantees who had demonstrated capacity to undertake projects that address the problems of concentrated rural housing and economic distress and were of sufficient scale and impact relative to the identified need to demonstrate a measurable improvement in the quality of life for residents in the target area during and after the period of HUD assistance.

The Rural Innovation Fund program awarded 51 applicants in August 2011 with funds issued through the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010, Public Law 111-117. Grants were awarded across the following three categories:

  • Comprehensive ($2,000,000 grant award maximum)
  • Single Purpose ($300,000 grant award maximum)
  • Indian Economic Development and Entrepreneurship ($800,000 grant award maximum).

The awarded grant projects include activities such as constructing and rehabilitating homes, providing job training and creating new businesses, improving infrastructure, and instituting green and sustainable improvements. The awarded grantees committed significant leverage funding and partnership to their projects and as a whole, these efforts will take an important step toward improving the opportunities and living conditions for residents of rural America.

The current Rural Innovation Fund grantees have a three year grant term in which to complete their projects, so all current grants are on track to be completed by the end of calendar year 2014. Unfortunately, the Rural Innovation Fund program has not received repeat funding in subsequent years since the 2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act; however this website shall be updated in the case that funding is made available.

For more information about RIF, contact HUD:

For more information about HUD's economic development programs, view the Economic Development Programs page.