HAC’s 2020 Annual Report

HAC would like to present its Annual Report for the year 2020.

A Message from HAC President and CEO, David Lipsetz

2020 was a year like none other. In hundreds of rural places, like Bastrop, Louisiana and Pine Ridge, South Dakota, the Housing Assistance Council helped local partners address housing challenges caused by COVID-19, and more so by living in a system that lets the place you live and the color of your skin determine how much you can access the freedom and wealth this great country has to offer.

This was not the 2020 we wanted, but it was a year in which HAC gave its all to address the challenges before us.

The year started with HAC on a roll. We had just overhauled our loan fund, modernized our financial management system, and we moved all of our computing to the cloud.

We were hiring new HACsters, growing and establishing a new division for Policy, nearly doubling our grant funding for training and technical assistance, and talking to a dozen investors about investing in HAC to increase the size and reach of our lending for families that need an affordable home.

And then it was March.

Businesses and schools were shutting down as COVID arrived. Supply chains for goods and services were breaking down. The impact of the pandemic was climbing fast.

At first, rural places seemed less at risk. Then the rates of infection in rural places took off. It wasn’t long before people in small towns were getting sick at rates above the rest of the country.

In response, HAC moved its operations entirely online. We shifted all of our technical assistance for rural organizations to COVID response and business continuity. We gathered up and sent out information that small towns needed to respond in the face of the pandemic.

We offered every group that was building affordable housing with a loan from HAC an opportunity to defer mortgage payments until conditions improved.

Because good rural data is always hard to find, we provided detailed maps and reports to federal official—and the press—on an almost daily basis. We were tracking the devastating impact of the pandemic as it raced across small towns in this country. It was a story we had to tell in real time if we expect the response and recovery to include all Americans.

And then, of course, came May.

Civil unrest was everywhere in 2020. Protestors taking to the streets to call out police violence and systemic racism. HAC has this wonderful 50-year record of working to dismantle racist housing policy. Though further from the headlines, there were protests in Whitefish, Cairo, Selma, Harlan, Taylorville, and countless other small towns that know racism and the injustice it brings MUST be rooted out of every corner of the country.

Throughout all that 2020 had in store for us, we saw resilience. We saw rural groups overcome broadband deserts to deliver homebuyer education via Zoom, and construction crews splitting into shifts staying socially distanced while keeping projects on schedule. In 2020, HAC originated nearly $9 million in mortgages to local groups that were, against all odds, finding ways to keep building affordable homes for families in need.

In this past year of extraordinary hardship, I am really proud of the job HAC’s done. We didn’t struggle to keep up—we rose to the occasion. We expanded our impact. We deepened our commitment to equitable and just outcomes. We maintained our momentum, strengthened our financial position, expanded our staff, and kept our programs on an upward trajectory. We are redoubling our partnerships with the rural communities where we live, work, and invest our capital. I am proud of it. I am inspired by all of the work my colleagues at HAC and partners in small towns around the country have done this year. And, of course, we couldn’t build homes and community in rural America without the generosity of our supporters. Thank you for your commitment to rural communities and to people in need.

So, here we are celebrating HAC’s 50th anniversary in the year to come, 2021. And while it may take all of us another 50 years working together to make sure EVERY American in EVERY small town has a safe, stable, and affordable place to call home, I think 2020, with all its ups and downs, has brought us another step closer to that goal.

So, thanks for your partnership, thanks for your support for the Housing Assistance Council this year. Let’s keep at it in the year to come.

Annual Report – 2019

As Americans now face an unprecedented series of changes in their daily lives due to Covid19, the importance of stable and affordable housing cannot be overstated. Our homes have become our offices, our schools, our social clubs, our places of worship, and our safe havens. But economic uncertainty combined with ongoing housing affordability concerns make it harder and harder for the most vulnerable Americans to access that safe haven. Covid19 has only served to exacerbate this inequality, especially for those rural regions that were already struggling to maintain hospitals, employers, bank branches and their aging housing stock.

As Covid19 spreads across rural places, HAC is pouring all our time and resources into the hardest hit rural communities. This year’s Annual Report is concise and conveys only primary corporate information.

Before the pandemic, public concern over housing affordability and rural poverty was rising. The pandemic has spiked those concerns as it lays bare the inequity that exists between different places in our country. HAC’s work is essential to an effective response and recovery. We continue to deliver local communities the resources and capabilities they need to address both the short term and long term solutions for rural America. We hope you’ll continue to join us in this fight.

Read the report

Catalyst of Change – The 2018 HAC Annual Report

catalyst of change

HAC is pleased to present the 2018 Annual Report, which looks back at our accomplishments and those of our partner organizations over the last year.

For 49 years, the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) has worked to build communities across rural America. As we approach a half-century of improving housing conditions for people in rural areas, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on our work.

As we thought about the many ways HAC has created change, empowered local organizations, fostered collaborations between sectors, built a community of learning and advocated for those whose voices are often silenced, one word kept rising to our minds. Catalyst.

A catalyst is an agent of change. It helps to enable collaboration among existing elements that may struggle to combine. HAC has been serving as a catalyst for improving rural communities throughout our history.

2018 was no different. We continued to help local organizations in rural areas increase their capacity and assist in financing their projects. We expanded our collaborations with national organizations, foundations and private funders, and began new initiatives around rural prosperity and Duty to Serve. Our research shed light on a looming crisis for affordable rental housing and continued to inform advocates and policymakers about the realities of rural poverty and housing conditions. We ended the year on a high note with our biennial conference. The rural housing community shared ideas, discovered new approaches, and returned back to their communities rejuvenated and recommitted to the effort.

As we expand our reach, we acknowledge that the work we do would not be possible without the generous support of our public and private supporters. Their commitment to rural people and communities helps create a fertile environment for HAC’s actions.

The work is not done. The challenges for rural communities are, in some ways, becoming more severe. But we know the solution. HAC will continue to serve as a catalyst for rural organizations, offering them the tools they need to generate local solutions. While the job is never finished, we are always inspired by the energy, passion, and ingenuity of rural people and places.

Read this publication online at Issuu.com.

HAC: Building Rural Communities: Annual Report 2017

HAC's 2017 Annual ReportHAC is pleased to present the 2017 Annual Report, which looks back at our accomplishments and those of our partner organizations over the last year.

Rural America got a lot of attention in 2017. The results of the 2016 presidential election encouraged journalists, policymakers, and others to consider the differences between rural and urban parts of the U.S. The Housing Assistance Council has known these facts for decades, of course, and has worked with partners around the country towards improving life for the lowest income rural Americans.

Economic recovery from the Great Recession is lagging in rural areas, with a lower rate of job creation than in metropolitan places. Most of the new rural jobs are in the service sector, with far lower salaries than past mining and manufacturing positions. Forty percent of renters in places with populations under 10,000 pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing. While rural residents are more likely to be homeowners than city dwellers are, the homeownership rate for rural African Americans and Hispanics is 20 percentage points lower than that of white non-Hispanic rural households. Persistent poverty counties – those where poverty rates have exceeded 20 percent since 1990 – are predominately rural.

At the same time, HAC knows rural America’s advantages. The barnraising spirit is still strong: residents care deeply about their communities and they really do pitch in to help their neighbors. Rural places’ products and their natural resources benefit the entire country. Costs of doing business are often lower in small towns than in big cities.

HAC spent 2017, as it has spent more than 45 years, helping rural communities use these positive traits and resources to improve their residents’ lives. This has always been the hallmark of HAC’s work: HAC helps local organizations so that they can, in turn, help their communities – not only immediately, but for years to come. HAC builds rural resources, capacity, and knowledge by providing financing, training and technical assistance, and research and information. In 2017 HAC continued its special efforts to help provide housing for rural veterans and launched a new initiative on creative placemaking.

Whether the new attention to rural areas yields useful results or not, HAC and our partners on the ground will continue our efforts. Rural Americans will deserve decent, safe, affordable housing, as they always have.

Read this publication online at Issuu.com.

45 Years. 45 Stories Cover

45 Years. 45 Stories

We Believe in Rural America

45YearsCoverAt the Housing Assistance Council (HAC), we know rural America. For 45 years, HAC has worked to improve the lives and homes of rural Americans all across this land – especially in often forgotten places and among often forgotten populations including Appalachia, the rural South and Mississippi Delta, the Border Colonias, Native American Lands, and migrant and seasonal farmworkers. The following 45 stories represent not only our past accomplishments and efforts over as many years, but also, and possibly more importantly, they offer a glimpse into our activities and aspirations for rural communities today and for the coming 45 years.

Read a web friendly version on Issuu.com

We Believe in Rural America

45YearsCoverFor most of our county’s history, the United States was largely a rural nation. That changed sometime in the 1930s when more people began living in and around cities than in the countryside. In the past few decades, the pace of urbanization has accelerated even faster. This fundamental shift is not only in our nation’s demography, but also in our identity and character. What does it mean to live, work, and prosper in 21st century rural America? Rural areas have their share of challenges, some unique, while others are similar to those in the cities and suburbs. But rural citizens also have a strong sense of pride, work ethic, and perseverance.

At the Housing Assistance Council (HAC), we know rural America. For 45 years, HAC has worked to improve the lives and homes of rural Americans all across this land – especially in often forgotten places and among often forgotten populations including Appalachia, the rural South and Mississippi Delta, the Border Colonias, Native American Lands, and migrant and seasonal farmworkers. The following 45 stories represent not only our past accomplishments and efforts over as many years, but also, and possibly more importantly, they offer a glimpse into our activities and aspirations for rural communities today and for the coming 45 years.

We know rural America. More importantly, we believe in rural America.

Read a web friendly version on Issuu.com

Annual Report 2015

HAC's 2015 Annual Report CoverThe Housing Assistance Council is pleased to present Building Rural Communities, HAC’s 2015 Annual Report.

Read a web-friendly version of this publication on issuu.com.

In 2015 the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) mixed innovation, tried and true techniques, and special attention to special needs to further its mission of improving housing conditions for low-income rural Americans.

Ongoing issues surrounding the preservation of existing decent, affordable rental housing in rural America were one important focus of HAC’s work this year, as a large proportion of U.S. Department of Agriculture rental housing mortgages near the end of their terms. Veterans’ housing needs were another. HAC also continued its strong support of self-help homeownership for families who could not afford to purchase their own homes without the value added by their “sweat equity.” HAC’s loan funds make below-market financing available for those developing or rehabilitating affordable rural housing for both owners and renters.

This year HAC continued to increase its use of technology, delivering webinars and publications online and launching a new Veterans Data Central site to complement its popular Rural Data Portal. Person-to-person interactions remained important as well, with individualized conversations and live training sessions, including peer-to-peer events, providing technical assistance to local rural organizations and governments nationwide.

The importance of HAC’s role as an intermediary remains clear. As always, in 2015 local organizations throughout rural America made good use of HAC’s loans, grants, trainings, technical assistance, and information resources. HAC is proud to continue empowering these groups to provide decent, affordable homes for the lowest income residents of their own communities.

20 Years of Rural Voices

What a Difference 20 Years Makes

This edition, “20 Years of Rural Voices,” highlights and revisits a selection of articles published over the past two decades.

View from Washington

Let’s Recommit to Rural America
by Congressman Bennie Thompson

Rep. Bennie Thompson challenges his colleagues in Congress to re-engage in the fight to keep successful federal rural housing programs alive.s

FEATURES

Self-Help Housing on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation: Alive and Well
by Leslie Newman

There is more than one way to design a self-help housing program, and collaboration between community organizations helps.

Still Ticking After All These Years: Low-Income Housing Tax Credits in Washington State
by Kim Herman

Tax credits have remained important in rural Washington, financing the production of thousands of homes.

Rural Midwest Housing Remains Complex and Diverse
by Ann Ziebarth and Jeff Crump

Whether growing, stable, or declining, rural communities in the Midwest face challenges in providing housing for lowincome residents.

The Housing Trust Fund Movement Spans the Country
by Mary Brooks

State and local housing trust funds continue to offer flexible funding for affordable housing across the country, and a national fund has been created as well.

Where You Live Matters: Fair Housing is Still the Law and Even Stronger
by Shanna Smith

The Fair Housing Act has been law since 1968, and new developments in 2015 have strengthened it.

Reflections on Cushing Dolbeare and Eleven Years of Housing Change
by Sheila Crowley

Cushing Dolbeare founded the National Low Income Housing Coalition; her legacy guides the organization years after her death.

20 Years Do Make a Difference
by Joe Belden

Many things have changed since 1995, says a veteran rural houser, but rural housing needs and solutions have never been partisan issues, and should not be now.


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

Annual Report 2014

ar2014-coverThe mantra ‘retool, rebuild, renew’ resonated throughout the year as HAC continued its work improving housing conditions for the rural poor. Even as the economy begins to improve, many rural communities and Americans continue to struggle with the aftermath of the national housing crisis and recession. Similarly, some rural housing providers have scaled back their efforts in response to critical funding cuts and uncertain markets. Adversity and change have never discouraged HAC or the partners we have developed such strong relationships with across the nation. HAC continues pressing forward to retool our collective talents, rebuild the innovative spirit that got us where we are, and renew our passion for the mission that guides us.

For the entirety of its existence, HAC has worked to recognize housing inadequacies and help facilitate remedies through affordable lending products, technical assistance, and accessible information. As traditional problems linger, new and more complicated constraints of housing distress have emerged. The past decade has taught us the importance of housing to our nation’s economy, communities, and families. As the nation’s fiscal outlook grows more complicated and public sector investment decreases, HAC becomes increasingly integral to the success of building capacity and providing affordable, quality homes in rural America.

All of our efforts serve one goal: to improve housing conditions for the poorest of the poor in the most rural of places. HAC remains dedicated to this mission and to the partners that work tirelessly in pursuit of the day when every family in rural America will have a safe, affordable place to call home.

Annual Report 2013

2013 Annual ReportThe achievements of our partners across rural America are a constant source of inspiration. Even during these trying times when organizations are faced with funding cuts, a struggling economy, and a rural housing market still undergoing recovery, dedicated organizations and individuals work daily to improve the lives of low-income rural residents. HAC looks back at 2013 knowing tangible change can still be accomplished through hard work. HAC’s success is linked to the success of our partners.

HAC’s strong relationships with rural housing providers across the country provide a unique insight into in rural communities’ needs and the challenges they face in meeting those needs. These relationships allow strategies to be adapted in order to work across a diverse landscape. Input from partners helps create appropriate policy and programmatic responses and allows HAC to remain a strong advocate for low income rural families. Loan fund programs, trainings, direct one-on-one technical assistance, research and information products, and analyses of federal housing policies ensure that HAC provides the tools necessary for organizations to continue providing safe, secure, affordable housing across rural America. HAC’s resources build and maintain relationships, and these relationships are critical.

HAC’s 2013 annual report highlights these relationships. Beginning with loan and grant making, HAC’s role as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) allows us to help our local partners build and develop needed affordable housing projects. HAC’s training and technical assistance helps rural housing providers operate effectively and efficiently. And finally, HAC’s research and information provides partners with resources to gain access to data, understand federal policies, and stay up to date on news that impacts rural communities. Each service has its role and value for organizations in the field. HAC looks back on 2013 and recognizes not only the challenges, but also the hard-won successes of our partners. We remain committed to the advancement of local efforts and organizations and the ultimate goal of strengthening rural communities across the United States.

A Commitment to Capacity

A Commitment to Capacity
Print Copy: $5.00
This report examines HAC’s loan fund on the occassion of its fortieth year of funding rural affordable housing.
June, 2012