The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) was created in 1934 under the National Housing Act to encourage and facilitate home ownership; and to exert a stabilizing influence on the mortgage and building industries after the devastating impact of the Depression. FHA was consolidated into the newly established Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in 1965.
FHA neither builds homes nor lends the money itself. Rather, it insures loans on real property made by approved lending institutions. FHA does not insure the property, but it does insure the lender against foreclosure loss.
With the protection provided by this type of insurance, approved lenders are able to make low-interest, low-down payment loans to borrowers.
Once funded, most FHA (and VA) loans are pooled into Government National Mortgage Association (GNMA; "Ginnie Mae") mortgage-backed securities and then sold into the secondary mortgage market.