HAC is Hiring a Loan Asset Management Intern

The Loan Asset Management Intern is part of HAC’s lending team and will gain valuable work experience participating in projects that contribute to the success of the mission of our organization, while reporting to the Senior Asset Manager. The position be approximately 32 hours per week, with a stipend of $15-18 per hour commensurate with experience/responsibilities. Internship will run from the end of May through August 2024.

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HAC is Hiring a Senior Loan Officer

The Senior Loan Officer provides oversight and supervision to a team that performs a series of lending activities, including loan structuring, underwriting, marketing, and research and product development in HAC’s Loan Fund Department. This individual develops, organizes, coordinates, recommends, and implements systems to ensure that appropriate loan underwriting due diligence is completed.

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HAC is hiring a Portfolio Management Associate

The Portfolio Management Associate is responsible for all aspects of loan closing and loan disbursements for an assigned portfolio of loans made to entities engaged in affordable housing activities in rural communities throughout the United States.

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HAC is Hiring a Research Associate

The Research Associate conducts original research, analyzes, and manages data, and disseminates information that informs local strategies and national policies to improve conditions for rural people. The Housing Assistance Council’s (HAC’s) Research team is widely recognized as a leading source of research, data, and information for community-based practitioners, public and private stakeholders, and policymakers working on issues that impact rural communities. A strong candidate will bring analytic rigor and a deep desire to help rural people and places thrive, and the willingness to grow as a thought leader in the field. The position comes with a competitive salary, generous benefits, and the opportunity to work in an innovative and mission-focused environment.

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HAC is Hiring a Research Assistant

The Research Assistant contributes to research projects and helps support the Housing Assistance Council’s (HAC’s) research, data, information, and policy efforts. The Research Assistant works closely with HAC’s Director of Research and the entire Research and Information team at HAC. The Housing Assistance Council’s Research team is widely recognized as a leading source of research, data and information for community-based practitioners, public and private stakeholders, and policymakers working on issues that impact rural communities. A strong candidate will bring analytic rigor and a deep desire to help rural people and places thrive. The position comes with a competitive salary, generous benefits, and the opportunity to work in an innovative and mission-focused environment.

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HAC is Hiring a Program Coordinator – Capacity Building Programs

The Program Coordinator plays an important role in the effective facilitation and management of various programs, predominantly funded through federal initiatives. This position ensures that project goals are aligned with organizational objectives, timelines, and budgets, while maintaining strict compliance with federal guidelines. The Program Coordinator will act as a key liaison between the funding agency and our organization, operating under the direction of the Program Manager.

The position is open to candidates located anywhere in the contiguous United States, within a two-hour drive of a major airport, enabling occasional travel as needed.

This position offers a unique opportunity for career development and advancement within the organization.

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HAC is Hiring Housing Specialists (Community Builder)

The Community Builder plays a crucial role in advancing HAC’s mission, engaging in a range of responsibilities and special projects that focus on place, people, and community-based strategies. With a primary emphasis on developing and sustaining the capacity to improve housing and communities in rural areas, the Community Builder provides direct technical assistance, coaching, and training to nonprofit organizations, local and regional government agencies, and others. This role is key in facilitating affordable housing and community and economic development opportunities through state and federal programs.

HAC is seeking to hire six (6) Community Builders, each bringing expertise in one or more of the following areas: Financial Management and Accountability, Real Estate Finance, Construction Management, Housing on Native American Lands, Community and Public Facilities, Homeless Prevention and Assistance, and Homeowner Rehabilitation.

This position is open to candidates located anywhere in the contiguous United States, within a two-hour drive of a major airport, enabling efficient travel as needed.

Read the position description and application instructions.

Reflections from long-time board members

For over fifty years, the Housing Assistance Council has empowered rural communities with the resources they need to overcome their greatest housing challenges. That entire time, HAC’s Board of Directors has guided our approach and kept us true to our mission. Our board members have always represented the communities we work with across the country. The expertise they bring has proven invaluable time and time again.

At the National Rural Housing Conference in October 2023, we honored two long-time board members by presenting them with Rural Housing Service Awards as thanks for their combined 66 years of service to HAC. As they transitioned off the board, we asked Maria Luisa Mercado and Gideon Anders to reflect on the past, present, and future of HAC.

Maria Luisa Mercado, Lone Star Legal Aid

Galveston, Texas

Thirty-six years ago, when she was working as an assistant attorney general for consumer protection in Lubbock, Maria Luisa got a call from a colleague who said she’d be an ideal board member at HAC. For Maria Luisa, who grew up as a farmworker, “serving on a housing board, especially one with a rural focus, was really exciting.”

Housing is the core of what HAC does, but she explains that the real goal has always been to serve people and communities. After all, she says “if you can stabilize someone’s housing, you can change their life.” Staying true to this mission has been the core of HAC’s success, she argues. Over the last three decades, Maria Luisa has visited many of the communities with which HAC works, and the impact of our work is always clear. “You can concretely see the results: changing the life of someone,” she notes.

Looking to the future, Maria Luisa believes the defining challenge of the next few decades will be developing novel ways of encouraging the development of new affordable housing groups. As we expand the communities that we serve and develop new partners, building their capacity to make the most of the resources available to them will be crucial. She imagines a future in which HAC has expanded from a focus on housing to include community development and building the capacity of local communities and governments to access state and federal resources.

HAC has always been at the forefront of efforts to support rural communities’ housing and to bring attention to overlooked rural places. “It matters because rural America,” says Maria Luisa “if no one pays attention, is isolated from services.” And those services, like housing investment, are what any community needs to thrive. After more than five decades of serving rural America, Maria Luisa is proud to say that “HAC is still standing.”

Gideon Anders, Retired (formerly National Housing Law Project)

Oakland, California

Gideon Anders was hired by HAC in 1972—fewer than 8 months after we were founded. As Gideon explains, the HAC of 1972 was still figuring out how to operate: “we did a lot of things by the seat of our pants.” Quickly, though, we established the processes that HAC continues to build on to this day. “Our work is much more effective and reaches out to more organizations” than it once did, Gideon notes.

For the entirety of his time with HAC—both as a staff member and in his 30 years as a board member—something that hasn’t changed is that “there’s no one else providing the assistance that HAC is.” For example, we were one of the first organizations to offer predevelopment lending in rural communities, and our research—especially our flagship publication Taking Stock—fills a void in data and analysis about rural housing.

HAC is still providing resources to rural communities that few others do. To Gideon, HAC’s focus on the preservation of multifamily rental homes in the USDA’s Section 515 program is a key example of the “critical services which no one else is providing on the scale HAC is.” In 2022, for example, HAC closed a $7.8 million loan to Northwest Coastal Housing so they could purchase and preserve Golden Eagle II, a 33-unit USDA Section 515 property. Without our financing, the original property owner would have prepaid his USDA mortgage, making his tenants ineligible for the rental assistance they’d received for decades. But, thanks to this loan, Golden Eagle is staying in the program and the tenants will retain their affordability protections for decades.

Looking to the future, Gideon imagines a HAC that is bringing together organizations of all kinds to collectively make the argument that housing is central to individual and national prosperity. Our homes touch every other part of our lives, which is why Gideon wants to see these coalitions include community service providers of all stripes, including those focused on health. After all, when it comes to the impact on someone’s health, Gideon believes “quality housing comes next to healthcare.”

A lot has changed at HAC over the last 50 years. However, Gideon notes that, “fundamentally, the services HAC was providing in 1971 are still what we’re doing today. But the scope has grown tremendously.”


Empowering Veterans Through Collaborative Housing Initiatives: Insights from the 2023 National Rural Housing Conference

The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) is dedicated to supporting those who have answered the highest call of service to our nation. Our Affordable Housing for Rural Veterans (AHRV) Initiative aids local nonprofit housing organizations in improving housing conditions for veterans in their communities with support from The Home Depot Foundation. The brick-and-mortar projects that AHRV funds provide critical home repair, rehab, and construction for low-income, elderly, homeless, and/or disabled veterans. All this support is tailored to meet the specific needs of veterans in each community.

At HAC’s 2023 National Rural Housing Conference, the Veterans Stakeholder Meeting convened practitioners from around the country to share ideas and best practices. The centerpiece of the meeting was a series of presentations from a panel that included:

  • Karen Boyce, Managing Director of The Veterans’ Place, Inc. (TVPI), a transitional home for homeless veterans in Northfield, Vermont;
  • AB Bustos and Amber Morson, Homeless Veteran Program Managers at the Texas Veterans Commission (TVC), an organization that advocates for and provides services that will improve the lives of Texas veterans and their families; and
  • Miguel Chacon, Executive Director of A.Y.U.D.A. INC, an organization that provides assistance programs to low-income individuals and families in El Paso County, Texas, including affordable housing, rental assistance, and community health worker training.

Housing organizations from across the country benefited from hearing detailed presentations on housing efforts and gained insights on how organizations can work to better support veterans. Here are four key takeaways from the meeting:

  • 1. Incremental changes in language can make veterans more responsive to community partnerships.

    When asked “are you a veteran?” many former servicemembers, especially women and people who were discharged under other than honorable conditions, tend to answer “no.” Others may not consider themselves veterans because they never saw combat. The Homeless Veteran Program of the Texas Veterans Commission (TVC) found that a small change—asking “did you serve?”—has helped them identify more veterans who qualify for programs, some of which are open to all veterans, regardless of their type of discharge.

    This small change has generated such an increase in response that TVC has begun a statewide awareness campaign to encourage other local and nonprofit support programs to make the same phrasing change in an effort to identify more eligible veterans. Because TVC works with a wide range of supportive programs—education, employment, mental health, homelessness, and more—it emphasizes the connectedness of housing to the broader ecosystem of community support. A simple change in the language used to identify veterans can help housing organizations—and supportive programs of all stripes—across the country reach a wider net of people who need support after answering the highest call of service to our nation.

  • 2. Housing is part of a broader ecosystem of support.

    Organizations that open doors to collaboration can provide better support for the veterans they serve. In the Veterans Stakeholder Meeting, the team from the Veterans’ Place explained that they had noted an increase in the average age of veterans looking for housing. So, TVPI adapted their approach by reaching out to supportive housing organizations, like those providing assisted living, to find resources within their area for senior veterans.

    When organizations work with other groups and community programs, they often find partnerships they did not know were available to them. That’s why it’s important that the National Rural Housing Conference brings together practitioners from across the country, including many who work in housing-adjacent fields, like community health. The network of peers for housing organizations includes other organizations and local services. For example, healthcare institutions can play an important role in the support that housing organizations provide and vice versa. Housing is deeply connected to health, which becomes especially apparent when a veteran is living with mold, when a home that isn’t accessible for their disability, or when they’re recovering from challenges like PTSD or substance use disorder. The support that housing organizations goes further when it works in concert with other community services.

  • 3. It is crucial for housers to learn from a network of peers.

    In the Veterans Stakeholder Meeting, the panel was asked, “how do you start from ground zero?” Some of the meeting’s participants wanted to know how their housing organizations could expand into supporting veterans but didn’t know how to take the first step in building a network of support. One answer was for organizations to look for assistance within their community. The Veterans’ Place emphasized the importance of being willing to ask for help and of networking with other organizations, including housers in nearby areas. Groups like HAC and the Texas Veterans Commission that bring peer organizations together and connect them with resources act as force multipliers. By building connections among practitioners—both those with established veterans programs and those without—HAC provides a crucial service to the ecosystem of veterans housing.

  • 4. One size does not fit all for veteran housing assistance.

    Every veteran has their own unique story and lived experience. Placing all who served into the same category and assuming they face the exact same challenges is an ineffective approach to housing assistance. Recognizing this, the Veterans’ Place tailors its services to the needs of the individual. With open door policies and peer support, the Veterans’ Place emphasizes establishing boundaries and individual-specific systems when it comes to veteran housing. The Veterans Stakeholder Meeting proved the importance of this individualized approach across all housing programs, as organizations understand the unique needs of every veteran and continue to implement services that work for them.

The National Rural Housing Conference brought together practitioners from across the country. By sharing ideas as broad as the importance of partnership and as specific as the nitty-gritty of how a question is asked, these leaders learned lessons they can put into practice in their communities. As each community tailors these best practices to meet the specific needs of their veterans, HAC and The Home Depot Foundation will be there, supporting the local initiatives that bring us one step closer to a nation in which all veterans can have a healthy, accessible, and affordable place to call home.