It is a pleasure to report that 2007 brought the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) opportunities to expand its traditional work and to develop new resources for its local partners. This year HAC received the largest loan ever made to its loan fund, new resources to address rural homelessness, an excellent rating from a new assessment system, and requests for consultations on several housing initiatives in Congress. HAC’s work this year also involved foreclosure prevention, rental preservation, green building, and self-help homeownership, a new web-based resource for local organizations, and a number of successful training sessions.
Specifically, HAC’s accomplishments in 2007 include the following.
- HAC committed over $18.4 million in financing for 1,423 homes to be developed by 52 organizations in 28 states.
- Sources committing new funds for HAC’s lending included the Bank of America, which loaned $10 million, the largest loan HAC has ever received.
- The Opportunity Finance Network’s CDFI Assessment Rating System™ (CARS), which rates Community Development Financial Institutions, gave HAC a very strong rating: AAA for impact performance, + for policy, and 2 for financial strength.
- The Department of Health and Human Services Compassion Capital Fund awarded HAC $1million for a three-year Rural Homelessness Capacity Building Initiative to begin in January 2008.
- Responding to congressional requests, HAC testified before committees in both the House and Senate considering new legislation on homelessness, and at a House Financial Services Committee hearing on rural housing.
- HAC developed and delivered new training on post-purchase counseling to prevent foreclosures.
- As part of its ongoing work to save much-needed affordable rentals in rural America, HAC offered a training conference on rural rental housing preservation focused on areas with declining populations and conducted research on the location of federally funded rental housing in rural places.
- To help increase local organizations’ abilities to meet their communities’ needs, HAC made capacity building grants focusing on green building and rental preservation.
- A new Rural Housing Data Portal debuted on HAC’s website, www.ruralhome.org, providing user-friendly access to data about people and their homes on the national, state, and county levels.
- HAC targeted special attention this year, as it does consistently, to the parts of rural America with persistently high levels of poverty and housing need: Appalachia, colonias, farmworkers, the Mississippi Delta, and Native Americans.
As always, this year local organizations throughout rural America made good use of HAC’s loans, grants, trainings, technical assistance, and information resources. The importance of HAC’s role as an intermediary remains clear. HAC makes available resources that local organizations would not otherwise be able to access, enabling them, in turn, to provide decent, affordable homes in their own communities.