Since the passage of the first Homestead Act in 1862, the cry of "free land" has resonated with Americans hoping to build a better life for themselves and their families. About forty percent of homestead applicants between 1862 and 1934 completed the process and obtained title to their land. Over 1.6 million homesteads were granted, privatizing 270 million acres, approximately 10% of land in the United States.
Recently, echoes of that "free land" cry have been heard across rural America again on a smaller scale. Media reports have received extensive coverage nationally about rural Midwest and Great Plains communities, particularly in Kansas, developing free-land, or, mini-homestead programs. Most of these initiatives offer free lots upon which families can build a new home.
Relocating to a small, rural community is not for everyone. But for families that can make it work, saving tens of thousands of dollars on the cost of a lot can make all the difference in whether or not they can afford to own their own home. The Center for Rural Affairs has compiled information about rural communities that offer mini-homestead programs as part of their Renew Rural America webpages. These pages explore three key strategies for rural revitalization, namely new farming and ranching options as well as small business development and community development. Whether you're looking for "free-land" to build a house on, or a variety of other information about revitalizing rural communities, you can find answers to your questions here.