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HUD   >   State Information   >   Shared   >   Working   >   Groups   >   Farmworkers and Colonias   >   Common Questions
Common Questions
  1. What are colonias?
    Colonias are rural communities and neighborhoods located within 150 miles of the U.S.-Mexican border that lack adequate sewer, water, and/or housing.. These areas also typically lack other basic services like electricity, garbage service, water drainage, schools and community facilities.

    Most colonias do not have formal local government and the services that local government provides. And colonias come in all types. Some colonias are entire border communities. Some are remote subdivisions. Others are neighborhoods within communities.

  2. How do I know if the community I work in or live in is a colonia?
    In the border states of Arizona, New Mexico, and California, local or county governments have designated colonias through local government resolutions. They do this because they recognize that these are high-priority areas for funding basic community improvements.

    Check our list to see if your community has been designated a colonia.

    If the area in which you live lacks basic services, it may be a colonia. If you would like additional information about how a colonia can be designated, contact a HUD colonia specialist in your state

  3. Does HUD provide money to colonias?
    Congress enacted federal legislation during the 1990s that required Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California to set aside some of their HUD Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds for colonias. At least 10 percent of those funds flow from HUD to the states and finally on to colonia areas. The process varies by state. See how the funding process works

    Community Development Block Grant funds are an important resource because they can be used for many types of improvements that benefit low-income residents of the community, including building or improving streets, water and sewer, neighborhood centers; recreation facilities, and other facilities; buying land and/or buildings; demolishing old buildings; providing public services; and providing assistance to non-profit entities for community development or economic development activities (including assistance to small businesses).

  4. How can I apply for HUD Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding?
    You request CDBG funds directly from the city or county in which you are located. Your organization must serve the needs of low-income people.

    By federal law, the city or county in which you live must hold public hearings as they decide how to spend these funds. If you are interested in obtaining CDBG funds, you should become familiar with and involved in your local public hearing process. For more information about how to become involved, contact the community development or grants coordinator in your area.


  5. Does HUD have any other funding available?
    HUD also has several other funding programs for community development. HUD funding for housing development, rental and down payment assistance, and homeless services, are administered by the state in which you live. For more information about these programs and the agencies that administer them, see state and local funding sources.

    For other HUD programs, you must apply directly to HUD. Funding is made available annually and is awarded on a competitive basis.

    HUD has a number of programs that can meet colonia/farmworker needs. These include programs for nonprofit organizations seeking to build housing, create community economic development programs, help high school dropouts learn construction skills and build housing, conduct housing counseling for persons seeking to buy homes, and other similar activities. For a more detailed list of these programs, see Federal funding sources

  6. We have a group that is helping improve our community, but we are not a nonprofit organization. Why would we want to become a nonprofit organization?
    To be eligible to apply for HUD's annual competitive grant programs, you must be also be organized as a nonprofit organization. To learn more about how to become a non-profit.

  7. Who can I call in my area to help me?
    If you have questions about HUD resources and how to use them, contact your state colonias/farmworker specialist.
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