Except as otherwise provided in subsection (c), the Secretary shall, in making assistance available under this subchapter, give a priority to applications submitted by—
(1) persons and families that have the greatest housing assistance needs because of their low income and their residing in inadequate dwellings;
(2) applicants applying for assistance for projects that will serve such persons and families; and
(3) applicants residing in areas which are the most rural in character.
(b) Preliminary reservation of assistance at time of initial approval of project
In making available the assistance authorized by section 1483 of this title and section 1490a(a) of this title with respect to projects involving insured and guaranteed loans and interest credits and rental assistance payments, the Secretary shall process and approve requests for such assistance in a manner that provides for a preliminary reservation of assistance at the time of initial approval of the project.
(c) Prioritization of section 1485 housing assistance
(1) In general
The Secretary shall make assistance under section 1485 of this title available pursuant to an objective procedure established by the Secretary, under which the Secretary shall identify counties and communities having the greatest need for such assistance and designate such counties and communities to receive such assistance.
(2) Objective measures
The Secretary shall use the following objective measures to determine the need for rental housing assistance under paragraph (1):
(A) The incidence of poverty.
(B) The lack of affordable housing and the existence of substandard housing.
(C) The lack of mortgage credit.
(D) The rural characteristics of the location.
(E) Other factors as determined by the Secretary, demonstrating the need for affordable housing.
In administering this subsection, the Secretary shall use information from the most recent decennial census of the United States, relevant comprehensive affordable housing strategies under section 12705 of this title, and other reliable sources obtained by the Secretary which demonstrate the need for affordable housing in rural areas.
A designation under this subsection shall not be effective for a period of more than 3 years, but may be renewed by the Secretary in accordance with the procedure set forth in this subsection. The Secretary shall take such other reasonable actions as the Secretary considers to be appropriate to notify the public of such designations.
1996—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 104–180, §734(f)(1), substituted "Except as otherwise provided in subsection (c), the Secretary" for "The Secretary" in introductory provisions.
Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 104–180, §734(f)(2), added subsec. (c).