Strengthening Rural Communities Program

A nationwide leader in working with rural and Native communities and around the U.S, MHP’s proven track record of financial and technical expertise provides organizations the ability to build and preserve housing and community assets. Since 2010, MHP has received HUD and USDA grants to provide targeted technical assistance. From innovative planning practices to knowledge of complex federal housing programs, our experienced team helps organizations build capacity and overcome impediments to successfully planning and implementing community development projects.

Eligible organizations are those currently engaged in housing and/or community development in rural areas or actively working to build this capacity, such as Community Development Corporations (CDCs), Community Housing Development Organizations (CHDOs), local/county governments, Native nations, and nonprofits involved in (or looking to increase) affordable housing activities. Statewide entities are not currently eligible.

Program Details and Application

Eligible Projects and Activities

The Strengthening Rural Communities Program provides assistance for rural communities in:

  • Increasing the capacity for affordable housing development (particularly multi-family) and rehab to address housing needs of the lowest income residents
  • Increasing the capacity to access program funding (particularly HUD) and layer subsidies and the related need for early-stage project financial assistance
  • Increasing the capacity to deliver supportive services and develop supportive housing, particularly for growing senior populations
  • Increasing the capacity for comprehensive, sustainable community and economic development

MHP encourages a regional approach to housing and community development. This can include serving multiple entities by collaborating on a shared need. Successful applications must demonstrate a commitment by local community stakeholders to project implementation.

The following are NOT eligible for assistance:

  • General operating support
  • Direct housing services including affordable gap assistance
  • Direct housing development costs
  • Organizations with missions outside the housing and community development arena
  • Lobbying or other direct political activities
  • Activities for which the applicant already receives technical assistance or operating support funding from MHP

Who Can Apply

Beneficiaries awarded need to be focused on addressing community development issues surrounding affordable housing and/or economic development in rural areas, such as:

  • Rural housing development organizations (nonprofits currently engaged in housing and/or community development in rural areas or actively working to build this capacity)
  • Local units of government and political subdivisions
  • Tribal governments, housing authorities, and chartered entities
  • CHDOs and CDCs

Assistance Available

MHP provides technical assistance for projects that build capacity to address housing needs, access funding, align affordable housing with economic development and sustainable development, or successfully implement new financing models for supportive/senior housing. Financial assistance may be available in conjunction with an approved award.

Some examples of eligible activities include:

  • Staff development
  • Consulting
  • Obtaining CHDO designation
  • Securing project funding
  • Partnership development
  • Development of projects

Evaluation Criteria

Proposed project:

  • Articulates a compelling need. Priority will be given to engagements that include: low-income communities; Native communities; low-income seniors; households experiencing homelessness; and communities of color
  • Includes credible plan to address a compelling need and project readiness
  • Has identified staff and organizational leadership to undertake the proposed work
  • Aligns with other organizational work and community efforts
  • Exhibits sound financial capacity
  • Demonstrates clear and measurable outcomes


Requests for Technical Assistance are currently being accepted on a rolling basis.

Click Here to Apply Now!  For your convenience, a pdf version of the application is available for your review here.

The Application will remain open as MHP has funding availability. Support with the application process is available by contacting MHP Staff, so please don’t hesitate to EMAIL US with any questions you may have.

Check out a map of our work with more than 60 rural and Native communities in Minnesota and across the country.