HAC Blog Posts
HAC contributes regularly to Rooflines, a blog covering affordable housing and community development around the country. HAC staff posts, published approximately every two weeks, provide analyses of relevant data, stories from the field, commentaries on rural housing policy, and more. HAC staff also occasionally contributes to other rural or housing focused blogs and those posts will also be archived in this space.
Comments on individual posts can be entered on Rooflines; general comments or suggestions can be sent to
Rural Lending Improves; Costs Still Higher
by Keith Wiley
After declining by more than half from 2003 to 2011, the number of rural mortgage applications increased by 19% last year. And the number of actual mortgage loans issued rose 27% from the previous year, according to data collected under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HDMA).
Of the loan applications reported through HMDA in 2012, approximately 2.4 million, or 16%, were for mortgage loans in rural or small town communities.
Read the full blog post...
Shut-down Slams Door on USDA Mortgages
by Joe Belden
The week-old federal government shutdown is a disaster on many levels. For rural America, one major impact is in the area of housing.
For the near future, low- and moderate-income homebuyers who have applied for mortgages guaranteed or made directly by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Housing Service are out of luck. So are very low-income homeowners seeking repair grants or loans.
Understanding Rural Homelessness
by Eric Oberdorfer
Rural homelessness differs from urban and suburban homelessness. The image of an individual sleeping on the street, clearly visible to those passing by, is much less frequent in rural America.
Literal homelessness, or the condition of living on the street or in a shelter, does exist in rural America, but due to the geographic vastness of most of these areas and a lack of centralized services and resources, it is much more infrequent.
Read the complete blog post....
When a Housing Advocate's Work Hits Home
By Leslie Strauss
It’s been a very long time since I saw the movie “Dr. Zhivago,” but I can remember clearly the noisy crowd the doctor finds in his family mansion when he comes home from war. The family is being forced to share their home with a dozen other families, each occupying one room.
I would hate to live that way. But on a policy level it makes some sense, well, without the overcrowding. If we divided the available space in U.S. homes by the number of people, wouldn’t there be an appropriate number of square feet per person?
Sure, forcing people to share their space would make everyone a little uncomfortable, but wouldn’t that be better than having some people live without electricity or pay more than half their income for housing every month? Just temporarily, until we find a way to provide decent, affordable, separate living spaces for everyone.
Can’t find affordable housing where you live? Just move to wherever the housing is. Rural Americans have long been told to “move to town” to improve their housing situations.
The late Clay Cochran, one of the founders of the modern rural housing movement, called this Metropollyanna: the belief that eventually everyone will move to the city and live happily ever after.
It is not uncommon to hear politicians, pundits, and policymakers question the value of social services and public spending in rural parts of the United States where populations are small and resources are limited. This idea came up a couple of months ago in a LinkedIn discussionabout a Rooflines post titled “What Does the Push for Transit Oriented Development Mean for Rural Areas?” One commenter responded: “It means people will have to live in more population-concentrated, urban-proximate areas.”
Needless to say, rural housing supporters disagree.
Read the complete Blog post at Rooflines