HAC’s full length research reports provide detailed information and analysis on a wide array of social, economic, and housing issues that impact affordable housing needs and provision in rural America.

Outstanding CRA Institutions Map

Making CRA Work in Rural America: Finding “Outstanding” Financial Institutions

The Housing Assistance Council’s report exploring the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), entitled Making CRA Work in Rural America: Finding “Outstanding” Financial Institutions, takes a closer look at lenders who consistently excel in meeting their CRA obligations. Is this a common phenomenon? Are there things which these lenders have in common? This research begins a discussion about how we can learn from those lenders which already do an outstanding job of providing credit to all of their service areas.

The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) requires federally insured lenders to make credit available in all areas where they do significant business or take deposits. The CRA charges federal bank regulators with evaluating depository institutions on a regular basis to ensure they are meeting this obligation.

The overwhelming majority of financial intuitions earned Satisfactory CRA ratings on their most recent CRA examinations. Regulators awarded Outstanding ratings to only 9 percent of lenders. Consistently Outstanding-rated lenders are important because they serve as examples of institutions that continually exceed CRA requirements in serving all portions of their service area. While making up a majority of all FDIC-insured depository institutions, little is known about rural lenders in general and even less about how they fulfill their CRA obligations.

This report looked more closely at the lenders who consistently received Outstanding ratings on their last three examinations. The data show that this is an uncommon occurrence, only 4 percent of lenders are consistently outstanding, and these banks most often large asset, urban headquartered institutions. While the inclusion of distressed and underserved census tracts in lender service areas was associated with being consistently rated outstanding, the analysis found no association with being headquartered in rural areas. Additional research of these lenders is needed to better understand how they are able to successfully serve all communities.

This report is part of HAC’s Three-Part “CRA in Rural America” series.

Aging Veterans in the United States Cover

Aging Veterans in the United States

A snapshot of older veterans and their social, economic, and housing characteristics.

To better understand and inform strategies and policies for America’s aging veterans, the Housing Assistance Council has published Aging Veterans in the United States an analysis of data describing the older veteran population.

The United States is on the cusp of an extensive and far-reaching demographic transformation as the senior population is expected to nearly double by 2050. This is similarly the case for the veteran segment of the population who make up about 9 percent of the U.S. population. A large and growing proportion of this veteran population is composed of those age 55 and over, “older” Americans. As this group grows older, it is important to consider their unique characteristics and issues, which include health problems and physical limitations associated with aging. A rapidly aging population will significantly impact nearly all aspects of the nation’s social, economic, and housing systems.

Outstanding Partnership in CRA

Making CRA Work in Rural America: Partnerships and Opportunities for Rural Community Reinvestment

Little is known about rural community development activity for which lenders earn CRA credit. While anecdotal evidence suggest such projects are uncommon, most rural CRA discussions focus on the need to increase rural activities. HAC’s Making CRA Work in Rural America: Partnerships and Opportunities for Rural Community Investment report serves to increase our knowledge of how CRA can work in rural areas by focusing on four successful rural community development projects.

The case studies in this report explore a preschool expansion in Maine, construction of rental housing for farmworkers in Colorado, construction of low- and moderate income housing in Minnesota, and the donation of a bank branch to a local credit union in Mississippi.

“The CRA will make a good project better, but not a bad project good”
– Greg Hohlen, Bremer Bank

The participants in the case studies identified the following key elements to the success of their projects and making the CRA work for rural areas:

  • Strong relationships between the lenders and the involved organizations,
  • Lender expertise in community lending, and
  • Understanding of alternative funding streams by all involved parties.

While the CRA-related activity was an important part of each case, the underlying fundamentals of the project were sound making these efforts a win-win for the bank and the community.

This report is part of HAC’s Three-Part “CRA in Rural America” series.

Housing an Aging Rural America: Rural Seniors and Their Homes

Download the Report

Ensuring seniors have access to safe, secure affordable housing in a rapidly aging rural America

The United States is on the cusp of an extensive and far-reaching demographic transformation as the senior population is expected to more than double in the next 40 years. Rural America is “older” than the nation as a whole and more than one-quarter of all seniors live in rural and small town areas, and a rapidly aging population will significantly impact nearly all aspects of the nation’s social, economic, and housing systems. Most seniors wish to remain and age in their homes as long as possible, but rural elders are increasingly experiencing challenges with housing affordability and quality. These challenges point to an underlying gap in housing options and availabilities. With the scope and magnitude of the looming demographic shift of seniors, rural communities will need to develop a range of housing options available to seniors such as more rental housing, rehabilitation and repair programs, housing with services, and assisted living. These options not only enhance the lives of seniors but are fiscally prudent measures that are more cost effective than long-term care options.

Download the report.

Rural Veterans Resource Guide

The report contains program sheets that describe various programs and initiatives available for veterans as well as eligibility requirements and additional resources for each program. Keywords are provided to better help orient the guide. Each keyword can be found at the back of the report with a list of corresponding programs and their page numbers within the guide. HAC’s Veteran Resource Guide aims to provide insights into how to better utilize available resources. Knowing where to refer veterans to for needed services is critical in ensuring that veterans receive the services that will enable them to remain in safe, secure housing.






A Brief History of Rural Mutual Self-Help Housing in the United States

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has been funding mutual self-help housing since the early 1960s. The self-help housing model uses homeowner contributed labor to reduce the costs of their homes. This report provides a historical overview of the USDA program, including a brief narrative summary and detailed tables, updated through Fiscal Year 2013.

From Service to Shelter: Housing Veterans in Rural America

No veteran who has risked his or her life to protect our homes should return to find that they are not able have their own. For their sacrifice, it is imperative that we ensure our veterans have access to safe, affordable, and secure housing. This can be particularly challenging in rural America due to vast geographies, limited resources, and less social service infrastructure. The overall demographic picture of veterans will undergo major shifts in the coming years. As two wars overseas wind down, more veterans will be coming home. Returning to all corners of our nation, they will have housing needs to be addressed. The demographic changes associated with the baby boom generation and the overall graying of America will also shape veterans housing needs. The aging veteran population will have its own unique challenges. Ensuring that their housing needs are met is the least we can do to thank them for their service to this country.

Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 USDA Rural Housing Program Obligations Year End Report


In Fiscal Year 2013, USDA’s Rural Development (RD) Agency obligated approximately $23.4 billion in loans, grants, and loan guarantees which were used to build, purchase, repair, or support 177,387 units of affordable housing for low- and moderate-income families in rural areas.

The Housing Assistance Council tabulated data using the USDA Finance Office obligation reports (USDA/Rural Development report code 205c, d and e) and data from the USDA Single Family Housing and Multifamily Housing Divisions in the National Office. The comprehensive report includes tables and maps showing obligation data by program. In addition, data are compiled for each State’s program activity. The report also includes data by fiscal year for each of the programs since program inception.

This document is available by its individual chapters or as one large compiled document. The compilation document is formatted to print as double sided pages for printers that are able to print on both sides of the paper. Each chapter starts with a divider page which is intentionally blank to maintain consistency throughout the document.

2014, 151 pages


Introduction/Table of Contents

I. Summary of USDA Rural Housing Obligations
II. Single Family Housing Program Obligations
III. Multi-Family Housing Program Obligations
IV. Other Program Obligations
V. Rural Housing Program Historical Activity
VI. State Obligation Tables
VII. About the Data

All Files are in PDF format and require Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Questions about the data on this page? Contact Michael Feinberg, michael@ruralhome.org 202-842-8600

If you are having trouble connecting downloading any files on this page, contact Dan Stern, dan@ruralhome.org 202-842-8600.

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Housing in the Lower Mississippi Delta Cover

Housing in the Lower Mississippi Delta

The Mississippi River cuts through the rich alluvial plains and swamps of the deep south. The Lower Mississippi Delta has distinct economies, cultures, and even languages, which set it apart from much of mainstream America. With the legacies of a fading agricultural economy and the race based system which drove it, the region still endures a systemic and long-term economic depression which stifles the quality of life for many of its inhabitants.

Updated September 2013

Housing Conditions for Rural Farmworkers

Housing Conditions for Rural Farmworkers

More than 1 million people work harvesting fields, farms, and orchards in the United States. Farmworkers, who are often ethnic minorities or immigrants, earn low wages and experience working conditions that hinder their ability to access affordable and quality housing. Farmworker housing conditions are further exacerbated by legal, cultural, and geographic circumstances that often keep this population outside of the mainstream and contribute to their economic marginalization.

Updated September 2013