In connection with financial assistance authorized in this subchapter, the Secretary shall require that all new buildings and repairs financed under this subchapter shall be substantially constructed and in accordance with such building plans and specifications as may be required by the Secretary. Buildings and repairs constructed with funds advanced pursuant to this subchapter shall be supervised and inspected as required by the Secretary. In addition to the financial assistance authorized in this subchapter, the Secretary is authorized to furnish, through such agencies as he may determine, to any person, including a person eligible for financial assistance under this subchapter, without charge or at such charges as the Secretary may determine, technical services such as building plans, specifications, construction supervision and inspection, and advice and information regarding farm dwellings and other buildings.
The Secretary is further authorized and directed to conduct research, technical studies, and demonstrations relating to the mission and programs of the Farmers Home Administration and the national housing goals defined in section 1441 of this title. In connection with such activities, the Secretary shall seek to promote the construction of adequate farm and other rural housing, with particular attention to the housing needs of the elderly, handicapped, migrant and seasonal farmworkers, Indians and other identifiable groups with special needs. The Secretary shall conduct such activities for the purposes of stimulating construction and improving the architectural design and utility of dwellings and buildings. In carrying out this subsection, the Secretary may permit demonstrations involving innovative housing units and systems which do not meet existing published standards, rules, regulations, or policies if the Secretary finds that in so doing, the health and safety of the population of the area in which the demonstration is carried out will not be adversely affected, except that the aggregate expenditures for such demonstrations may not exceed $10,000,000 in any fiscal year.
In order to carry out this section, the Secretary shall establish a research capacity within the Farmers Home Administration which shall have authority to undertake, or to contract with any public or private body to undertake, research authorized by this section.
The Secretary of Agriculture shall prepare and submit to the President and to the Congress estimates of national rural housing needs and reports with respect to the progress being made toward meeting such needs and correlate and recommend proposals for such executive action or legislation necessary or desirable for the furtherance of the national housing objective and policy established by this Act with respect to rural housing, together with such other reports or information as may be required of the Secretary by the President or the Congress.