How HAC’s Training and Technical Assistance Supports Homebuyer Education

Homeownership isn’t just part of the American Dream—it is a pathway to decent, affordable housing and one of the best opportunities families have to build wealth. For over fifty years, the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) has empowered rural nonprofits to better meet the housing needs of their communities. From self-help housing to sustainable design, HAC’s training and technical assistance supports a variety of homeownership programs. Because June is National Homeownership Month, join us as we explore one way HAC supports rural homeownership: helping our nonprofit partners provide homebuyer education.  

For many families, navigating the homebuying process can be a challenge. Homebuyer education prepares buyers by helping them understand the homebuying process, building their financial skills like budgeting, and teaching how to maintain their new home. In addition, many first-time homebuyer programs (including most government-funded homeownership initiatives) require that prospective buyers complete homebuyer education to qualify for assistance.  

HAC’s one-on-one technical assistance supports organizations at every stage of providing homebuyer education. “Many of the groups I work with want to offer homebuyer education because nobody else in their community is doing it,” says HAC Housing Specialist Kelly Cooney. We assist organizations with deciding which homebuyer education courses to offer, navigating of the process of becoming a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-approved housing counseling agency, and even refining existing courses to better meet the needs of their clients. HAC’s Technical Assistance program also promotes peer-learning and resource-sharing by connecting our partner organizations with other like-missioned groups in their area and around the country.  

Unfortunately, many rural families travel long distances to reach the nearest class.  During the fall of 2020, HAC provided training to 14 local housing organizations, helping them convert their in-person homebuyer education courses to a virtual format. Over the course of three sessions, attendees learned best practices for online teaching, success stories from peers, and how to keep their clients engaged.  

As Elizabeth Mooney, a Housing Counselor at Community Action Commission of Fayette County, explains, “HAC has been so helpful in the transition of our homebuyer education classes during COVID. They scheduled calls to check in on the transition, offered solutions that other agencies were using, and connected me with even more resources. They even offered me a scholarship for some of the virtual trainings I attended.”  

You can request technical assistance and explore HAC’s calendar of training events. 

HAC is Hiring a Loan Officer

The Loan Officer, Rental Preservation, represents HAC on its rental housing lending and preservation technical assistance activities. This work will include marketing, originating, and underwriting new loan transactions in the Loan Fund Division. The Loan Officer makes recommendations for approval of loans and presents the recommendations both in writing and orally. The Loan Officer works closely with Loan Processors and Portfolio Managers who close and service loans. In addition to lending, the Loan Officer will provide hands on technical assistance to nonprofits that are seeking to acquire and preserve existing USDA financed (Section 515) rental developments. This work will involve assisting nonprofit organizations to assess capital needs, develop financing strategies, prepare USDA transfer applications, and shepherd the applications through the USDA transfer processes.

Read the position description and application instructions.

Rural Voices: 50Years of HAC - Cover

Rural Voices: 50 Years of HAC

HAC is celebrating its 50th anniversary! That does not mean we are simply congratulating ourselves for our good work and good fortune. We are glancing fondly backward, to be sure, but mostly we are looking forward. In May 2021 we launched a three-year capital campaign with an ambitious but achievable goal: “All families in rural America have a safe, decent, affordable place to live by 2071.”

This issue of Rural Voices considers the past 50 years while focusing on the next 50. It revisits some of the many rural communities in which HAC has worked, and it features visions of the future from rural places and rural housing leaders around the country.


VIEW FROM WASHINGTON

A Half Century Legislating for a Thriving Rural America
by Senator Patrick Leahy

The Senate President Pro Tempore reflects on his time leading the Senate Appropriations Committee, making a priority of investments in housing programs, and the challenges that remain.

FEATURES

Building on Past Successes for a Bright Future
by David Lipsetz

HAC’s CEO considers what needs to be done in the next 50 years.

Vision2071: What do Rural Communities Need to Succeed?
by Mackenzie Webb

Across the diverse tapestry of rural America, dedicated housing professionals hold an equally diverse set of visions for their communities.

Building an Abundance Mindset for the Rural Future
by Brian Fogle

A Missouri nonprofit offers a new way of thinking to ensure rural growth.

Revisiting Rural Success Stories
by Mackenzie Webb

A safe, healthy, and affordable home has an immediate impact when a senior no longer has to live with mold or a family finally has a home of their own. But, many of the effects reveal themselves over the course of decades. That’s why we are revisiting success stories from the Housing Assistance Council’s 50 years of helping build rural communities. Our homes shape our lives and our communities for generations to come. Decades after they concluded, these projects in Alamosa, Colorado, and Concordia Parish, Louisiana, continue to positively impact their communities—places where HAC still works.


INFOGRAPHIC

What is Your Vision for 2071?

During the 2021 National Rural Housing Conference, we asked attendees to share their vision for Rural America in 50 years. We would like to know: What is your vision for 2071?

 

 


Rural Voices would like to hear what you have to say about one, or all, of these issues. Please comment on these stories by sending a tweet to #RuralVoices, discuss on the Rural Affordable Housing Group on LinkedIn, or on our Facebook page.

HAC is Hiring a Housing Specialist- Native American Communities

The Housing Specialist – Native American Communities is responsible for providing direct technical assistance, coaching, and training to tribal communities, tribal housing departments, tribal housing authorities, and nonprofit organizations serving tribal communities. The Housing Specialist – Native American Communities contributes to all aspects of HAC’s mission through a combination of responsibilities and special projects involving place, people, and community-based strategies, with a primary focus on development and sustainability of capacity to improve the housing conditions for the rural poor.

Read the position description and application instructions.

HAC is Hiring an Impact Specialist

The Impact Specialist contributes to all aspects of HAC’s mission through the collection and reporting of impact metrics across the organization’s lines of business. This individual will assist in a range of analysis of programmatic and lending activities in the organization. The Specialist will assist in the preparation and review of investor and donor reports for the organization’s various sources of funding, such as grants, donations, and loans. Working closely HAC’s Executive Office, the Impact Specialist will also assist in the development and tracking of the organization’s new strategic plan.

Read the position description and application instructions.

2021 HAC Annual Report

HAC’s 2021 Annual Report

HAC would like to present its Annual Report for the year 2021.

HAC 2021 Annual Report

A Message from HAC President & CEO and Board Chair

For 50 years, the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) has worked with rural communities to build a better future. As we celebrate the first half-century of HAC, we are prompted to look back on the lessons of the last 50 years. But more importantly, we are inspired to look ahead. We envision a future in which everyone in rural America will have a safe, healthy, and affordable place to call home. Since our ambitions are mighty, the challenge before us in 2021 was to build the launchpad for that vision. 

In many ways, 2021 was our most impactful year yet. But, we didn’t just help build 820 homes, publish 11 new research products, and train 1,894 housing professionals. We did all that in ways that set up HAC and the communities we serve for long-term success. 

In December, we hosted the National Rural Housing Conference, welcoming over 550 rural housing experts and on-the-ground professionals from across the country. With speeches from members of the President’s Cabinet, Congressional leadership, and civil rights icons, and discussions with panels of industry leaders, the conference was a platform for innovative ideas about how to harness the innovation of rural America. Through more than 40 workshops, our attendees gained the knowledge and skills they need to create meaningful, lasting change in their communities.

We also deepened our relationships with the policymakers who oversee federal rural housing programs. These relationships resulted in the inclusion of new and expanded rural programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Through a variety of coalitions and working groups, HAC is bringing the rural housing industry together to advocate for the programs our communities need to succeed. As HAC expands our policy work, we’ll be guided by policy priorities we crafted in 2021—priorities for both 2022 and for the next 50 years.

While we are celebrating the work HAC has done since its founding in 1971, we are laying the foundation for our next fifty years of rural success. We are building support for our ambitious vision of rural America’s future through a new campaign: Vision 2071. Through the Vision 2071 campaign, we published stories that explore what local organizations need to address their communities’ housing challenges and what role a national intermediary like HAC can play in bringing us all together. Over the next three years, HAC will raise funding and capital to help all of us achieve the vision of a rural America where everyone has a safe, healthy, and affordable place to call home. 

Our work in 2021 was the launchpad for achieving that goal. Thank you for supporting the Housing Assistance Council’s work this year. We’re excited for what the next 50 have in store.

HAC is Hiring a Community Placemaking Manager

The Community Placemaking Manager helps rural citizens use their unique artistic and cultural resources to guide local development and shape the future design of their communities. HAC seeks a self-starter that is capable of envisioning innovative high impact solutions and interventions. The Placemaking Program Manager will cultivate the capacity of partner organizations and local communities, facilitate peer-to-peer learning engagements, manage the day-to-day program functions and activities to ensure projects are tracking according to plans, communicate program success, prepare grant and funding applications, and manage comprehensive project workplans.

Read the position description and application instructions.

HAC is Hiring a Special Assistant to the CEO

The Special Assistant to the CEO supports the work of HAC’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Board of Directors. The position is a blend of administrative work and project assignments for an early-career professional. The candidate will manage the CEO’s calendar, organize meetings, plan events, and make travel arrangements while working on special initiatives and assignments as the candidate grows into a career in policy, program administration or nonprofit management.

Read the position description and application instructions.

HAC Names Jonathan Harwitz Director of Policy

Housing Assistance Council Names Jonathan Harwitz Director of Policy

Contact: Dan Stern
(202) 842-8600
dan@ruralhome.org

Housing Assistance Council Names Jonathan Harwitz Director of Policy

Jonathan will manage HAC’s policy initiatives.

Washington, DC, March 1, 2022 – The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) is pleased to announce the hiring of Jonathan Harwitz as HAC’s new Director of Policy. He brings years of experience working with policymakers on affordable housing issues. Jonathan will spearhead and expand HAC’s place as the national source for independent, non-partisan policy solutions for rural housing and community development.

Jonathan joins HAC from his role as Director of Housing Community Development and Insurance Policy for the House Financial Services Committee.  Prior to that he served as Managing Director of Federal Policy and Government Affairs at the Low Income Investment Fund, a large national Community Development Financial Institution.  Earlier in his career, Jonathan served as: Deputy Chief of Staff for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development; Counsel to the Housing and Community Opportunity Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee; Professional Staff to the Housing and Transportation Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee; and in various policy-related positions at the Corporation for Supportive Housing. Prior to entering the field of federal policy, he clerked for two federal District Court judges and was a lawyer in private practice.

Jonathan was born and raised in Buffalo, NY. He earned a Bachelor’s degree with honors from Yale College, and a JD from Harvard Law School. He currently resides near Washington, DC with his wife and kids.

“Federal policy has an important and lasting impact on rural places,” said HAC CEO David Lipsetz. “We are incredibly excited to have Jonathan join the HAC team and help us make the case for equitable investment in rural areas across the country.”

For the last 50 years, HAC has been the voice for the poorest of the poor in the most rural places. HAC’s policy priorities are focused on the importance of capacity building, access to capital, and geographic equity in federal policymaking – with a specific lens on persistently poor and high-needs regions like the Mississippi Delta, rural Appalachia, farmworker communities, the Southwest border colonias and Indian Country. Our independent and non-partisan policy work ensures the most vulnerable rural populations have improved access to safe and affordable housing opportunities.

To learn more about HAC’s policy work, visit https://ruralhome.org/our-work/policy/.

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Rural Recap – Working Towards Equity

The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) was born of the Civil Rights Movement. It still shapes our work and inspires our mission. By helping build healthy affordable homes, we are making real the American promises of freedom, equality, and justice. In the Mississippi Delta, Appalachia, Indian Country, border colonias, farmworker communities, and small towns across America, we help local organizations see a positive vision for their future and literally build it brick by brick, shingle by shingle.

The Association for the Study of African American Life and History has named Black Health and Wellness as the theme of the 2022 Black History Month. This month, we lifted up stories about Black leaders like Joe Debro and Gordon Parks who contributed to the health and wealth of rural communities. We’re committed to combatting rural poverty and the inequity that has plagued America for hundreds of years. While we cannot undo generations of harm, a just America demands that we help build a future where everyone has a healthy place to call home.