Rural Voices: Lessons from Disaster

Rural Voices: Lessons from Disasters

The Fall 2000 issue of Rural Voices addresses some of what can be learned from recent major disasters.

Natural disasters remind us how little control we have over our world -homes and lives can be wiped out in seconds. One year ago, Hurricanes Dennis and Floyd devastated large sections of the eastern U.S., with heavy rains and flooding damaging communities far inland. This summer, news stories have focused on fires in the west. Less dramatic disasters happen all the time -a tornado strikes a single town or a river floods in one county.

The Fall 2000 issue of Rural Voices addresses some of what can be learned from recent major disasters. Preparatory steps to guard against damage are summarized by staff of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Project Impact, which helps to make communities disaster resistant. An experienced architect from Texas presents specific design and construction tips for wind resistance. A Kentucky state official describes her agency’s role in recovering from serious flooding. A Minnesota rural infrastructure expert suggests elements of a manual to guide emergency procedures. And a North Carolina advocate examines the challenges and successes of that state’s ongoing efforts to recover from last year’s hurricanes.

A great deal of additional information is available for rural communities to prepare for and recover from these kinds of disas-ters and others. Most of the articles in this issue suggest sources of further advice, and most of it is available free.

A key theme running through all these articles is the importance of advance planning and preparation. Rural communities can exert some control after all, either to reduce damage or to hasten recovery after a disaster.

Rural Voices: Policy & Rural Housing

Rural Voices: Policy & Rural Housing


The Summer 2000 issue of Rural Voices examines some aspects of government policies on the federal, state, and local levels, and their impact on housing conditions for low-income rural residents.

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Homebuyer Education and Counseling: Examining Rural Provider Networks in Texas, Florida and South Dakota

Homebuyer Education and Counseling: Examining Rural Provider Networks in Texas, Florida and South Dakota
Print copy: $4.00
A preliminary examination of the existing education and counseling organizational capacity identifies different problems in each state studied.
2000, 31 pages, ISBN 1-58064-106-7

Rural Voices: Initiatives in the Mississippi Delta

Rural Voices: Initiatives in the Mississippi Delta

The Spring 2000 issue of Rural Voices focuses on the Delta – not so much on its problems, which are well documented, but on what is being done and what can be done to improve its future.

The Mississippi Delta region has made significant contributions to our nation, yet it remains one of the poorest parts of the country. The Spring 2000 issue of Rural Voices focuses on the Delta – not so much on its problems, which are well documented, but on what is being done and what can be done to improve its future.

The issue begins with Representative Bennie Thompson urging us to make a national commitment to improving housing and opportunity, not only in the Delta but in all of rural America, and President Bill Clinton promising federal assistance for the Delta. Most of the magazine contains descriptions of initiatives working to improve housing and to enhance community and economic development in the Delta, written by the people who are actually undertaking the efforts described.

The new Administrator of the Rural Housing Service speaks up in this issue of Rural Voices as well. In a “Q&A” session, James C. Kearney addresses important topics facing his agency in the year 2000. The Administration’s new housing budget for 2001 is mentioned in that interview, and is covered in more detail in our View from Washington department.

Rural Boomtowns: The Relationship Between Economic Development and Affordable Housing

Rural Boomtowns: The Relationship Between Economic Development and Affordable Housing (report, 2000)

Rural Voices: Developing Organizations and Leaders

Rural Voices: Developing Organizations and Leaders

Developing our own organizations is one of the cha llenges we face as we work to develop our rural communities. Leadership, structure, staffing, planning, funding -the list of topics involved in bui lding organizational capacity can be daunting. The Winter 1999-2000 issue of Rural Voices addresses some of these subjects and how they relate to rural housing.

First, experts present recommendations on how to develop an organ ization, and list resou rces t hat can help. The role of women as leaders is cons idered next, including moving quotations from a recent study and a profile of one strong rura l woman. Another piece describes one way rural leaders can obta in academic degrees while work ing in t heir communities. The state of ru ral phi lanthropy is considered by experts in that field. One philanthropic effort, the Bank of America’s Rura l 2000 Initiative, is described in more detai l in a separate article.

As always, the magazine touches on some additional topics as well as its theme. The tenth anniversary of the Affordable Housing Program is celebrated, and the View from Wash ington department summarizes the fund ing outlook for housing programs in fisca l yea r 2000.

Environmental Concerns in Choosing a Site for Rural Housing Development – Report

Presents information on a variety of environmental issues and how to conduct preliminary or detailed research about a site.
Revised ed. 2000, 68 pages, ISBN 1-58064-045-1

Environmental Concerns in Choosing a Site for Rural Housing Development (PDF)

Rural Rental Housing: HAC's 1999 State of the Nation's Rural Housing Report

Rural Rental Housing: HAC’s 1999 State of the Nation’s Rural Housing Report
Print copy: $6.00
Uses data and discussions with experts to describe rural renters, their homes, and their housing challenges.
2000, 56 pages, ISBN 1-58064-098-2

Rural Voices: Rental Housing in Rural Areas

Rural Voices: Rental Housing in Rural Areas

The Fall 1999 issue of Rural Voices is dedicated to the importance of rental housing.

Homeownership generates excitement among policymakers and funders- and, indeed, it is important that we strive to increase homeownership. Yet not everyone can or wants to own their home, and renters should also have decent, affordable homes.

Unfortunately, decent, affordable housing is not always an option for rural renters. This magazine includes data showing that millions of rural renters pay too much and/or live in substandard or overcrowded homes. The articles in this issue, like the photos on the cover, illustrate some of the many aspects of rental housing in rural areas. Two of the articles present rental housing success stories. A third article describes actions that may be taken to address problems arising from prepayments of HUD-funded rental properties, and the View From Washington department explains why a new rural rental housing program should be proposed.

This Rural Voices issue does not cover prepayment and preservation of Section 515 units. Preservation is an important subject and, as noted in the summer issue of the magazine, HAC has joined a wide variety of organizations in a working group on this topic. The working group is still collecting background information and formulating its recommendations; its report will be covered in a later issue of Rural Voices when appropriate.

Rural Voices: Volume 4 Number 3

Rural Voices: Housing in the Rural Midwest

The Summer 1999 issue of Rural Voices celebrates two events, the passing of the Housing Act of 1949 and the opening of HAC’s fourth regional office is Kansas City, MO. In some ways these events are very different, but both are part of improving housing for rural Americans.

The first event occurred in 1949. That summer, exactly 50 years ago, the Housing Act of 1949 became law and created the first of the rural housing programs we still use today. From relatively small beginnings – a Section 502 direct loan program for homeownership and a Section 504 loan and grant program for home repairs, both available only to farmers – the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s rural housing programs have grown to a lengthy list of tools for financing better housing, and have improved the homes of many tens of thousands of rural residents. In honor of the programs’ anniversary, Rural Voices explores the passage of the 1949 Act, examines some changes over the last 50 years, and describes the historical beginnings of the popular self-help housing program.

The second event happened in late May this year. The Housing Assistance Council formally dedicated its fourth regional office. Located in Kansas City, Mo., and focused on serving the Midwest, this field office joins others in Atlanta, Ga.; Albuquerque, N.M.; and Mill Valley, Calif. Housing programs in the Midwest are not a new topic for Rural Voices, but this issue does emphasize that part of the country. One article provides an overview of rural housing conditions in the Midwest, and another describes the successes achieved by one community action agency in Kansas.

More good news is provided in our View From Washington department, which describes funding increases likely to be adopted for rural housing in fiscal year 2000.