Rural Voices: The Future of Housing Finance in Rural America

This issue of Rural Voices tackles the question “What is the future of housing finance in rural America?” from a variety of perspectives.

View from Washington

The Realities of Housing Finance in Rural America
by Senator Jerry Moran

Private financing is essential, but changes are needed to make it more feasible.

FEATURES

Assessing the Future of Housing Finance Amidst an Ongoing Recovery
by Jonathan Spader, Shannon Rieger, and Christopher Herbert

In considering the future of housing finance in rural communities, it helps to begin with an understanding of the conditions and trends in the housing market

The Secondary Market Works for affordable rural housing
Rural Voices posed a series of questions to two Freddie Mac representatives. Corey Aber works in multifamily housing and Mike Dawson covers single-family housing

Freddie Mac works to help make financing available for single-family and multifamily properties.

There’s Never Been a Better Time for Obtaining Rural Multifamily Financing
by Tim Carpenter

Fannie Mae is optimistic about the potential to support the development of more affordable rural rental housing.

Rural Housing Finance One Size Does Not Fit All
by Sarah Carpenter

State housing finance agencies can help fill gaps to address smaller-scale rural housing needs.

Nonprofits Need Capacity Building to Access Scarce Multifamily Financing
by Michael D. Carroll

An intermediary organization has developed tools to improve local entities’ ability to use the complex financing available.

Access to Financing Is Key to Manufactured Housing’s Potential
by Doug Ryan

Manufactured housing can help expand rural homeownership if financing options are expanded.

Qualified Mortgage Rule is a Win-Win
by Barry Zigas

Recent regulations have improved home mortgage financing for lenders and consumers.


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.

Rural Homelessness

Download a pdf version of Rural Voices
rvmarch2016-cover

This edition of Rural Voices makes clear the complexity of rural homelessness. Defining, much less quantifying, rural homelessness is a formidable task. While the challenges are sobering, HAC is inspired by those addressing rural homelessness across sectors ranging from education to domestic violence to veterans’ services. National experts and local providers come together to share their perspectives on this issue.

View from Washington

On the Brink of Change
by Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer

Innovative housing solutions are possible if everyone can work together.

FEATURES

An Overview of Rural Homelessness
by Nan Roman and Steve Berg

Homelessness has some different causes, features, and resources in rural places than in cities, and recognizing the distinctions can help in crafting solutions.

From Storage Shed to Stable Home
by Ashley Gooch

What does rural homelessness look like? A Tennessee man shares his story of hardship and perseverance.

Farmworker Homelessness in Imperial County, California
by Ilene J. Jacobs and Patrick Saldaña

Factors related to the seasonal nature of their work, their low wages, and discrimination may lead to homelessness among farmworkers.

Moving into Housing…First
by Patricia Mullahy Fugere

The Housing First approach provides housing without preconditions or requirements relating to behavior or treatment. With a stable home base, residents then address the challenges that caused, or kept them in, homelessness.

Expanding Healthcare Services for Supportive Housing Residents in Rural Areas
by Eva Wingren and Brian Byrd

The Affordable Care Act can help fund services that assist people in remaining stably housed.

What the Schools Know: Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness
by Patricia A. Popp

A national system of state and local homeless education coordinators works to ensure the growing numbers of homeless students have access to the resources they need.

RESOURCES

The Complicated (& largely unknown) Picture of Rural Homelessness (Infographic) The Complicated Picture of Rural Homelessness


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.

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.

50 Years, 50,000 Homes

A Half Century of Self-Help Housing Across Rural America

This edition of Rural Voices, “50 Years, 50,000 Homes,” celebrates the construction of the 50,000th self-help home to be built with USDA support and the achievements of the nonprofit sponsors, the USDA programs, and most importantly, the families who have become successful homeowners.

A Half Century of Self-Help Housing Across Rural America

Download a pdf version of Rural Voices
50 Years, 50,000 Homes

This edition of Rural Voices, “50 Years, 50,000 Homes,” celebrates the construction of the 50,000th self-help home to be built with USDA support and the achievements of the nonprofit sponsors, the USDA programs, and most importantly, the families who have become successful homeowners.

Views from Washington

Successful Federal-Local Partnerships
by U.S. Representative Harold “Hal” Rogers

Local partners help USDA housing programs make meaningful impacts to the lives of local rural residents

Neighbors Helping Neighbors Build a Better Life
by U.S. Representative Sam Farr

A program that helped create the real American Dream for over 50 years.

With Many Dedicated Partners, USDA Helps 50,000 Families Achieve the American Dream
by Secretary Tom Vilsack

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack discusses USDA’s Self-Help Housing Program.

FEATURES

So Much Progress, So Much Left To Do!
by Peter Carey

A simple concept still holds promise in a complicated housing world

Looking Back: The Beginnings and Evolution of USDA’s Self-Help Housing Movement
by Bob Marshall

Early efforts in rural California became a Self-Help Housing model for the nation

Building Forward: Self-Help For All
by Russell Huxtable

Let’s build on fifty years of history and expand this life changing program!

Self-Help Housing Changed Our Lives
by Noelle McKay and Stefanie Kompathoum

Families share their experience with the Self-Help Housing Program

An Emerging Self-Help Leader
by Mi’shell French

Discusses personal growth and sustaining the momentum through Self-Help Housing

Self-Help Housing and “SHOP” in the Rio Grande Valley
by Nancy Hanson

HUD’s Self -Help Homeownership Opportunity Program helps make self-help building sites affordable

Technical Assistance is the Essential Ingredient to Self-Help Housing
by Suzy Huard

USDA’S Section 523 Technical Assistance Grants make Mutual Self-Help housing possible

Expanding Service in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
by Mike Shimon

A local Habitat for Humanity provider reaches more families using the USDA Mutual Self-Help program

Neither Wind, Nor Rain…Can Stop a Determined Self-Help Provider
by Linda Smith

A local nonprofit is up to the challenge when disaster strikes twice.

Additional Content

Celebrating 50 Years of helping families help themselvesCelebrating 50 Years of helping families help themselves.(8.5″ X 11″ printable pdf)

Celebrating 50 Years of helping families help themselves.(25.5″ X 11″ original document)

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.

Some Mistakes Have Been Made

Rural Housers Share Their Favorite Mistakes, and What They Learned from Them

This edition of Rural Voices features stories from rural housing professionals who share notable mistakes they or their organization made. These candid and even humorous accounts of mistakes in rural housing are intended to convey that blunders are inevitable, but assessing and learning from mistakes can actually improve your organization and its efforts.

Rural Housers Share Their Favorite Mistakes, and What They Learned from Them

Download a pdf version of Rural Voices
rvspring15-cover
This edition of Rural Voices features stories from rural housing professionals who share notable mistakes they or their organization made. These candid and even humorous accounts of mistakes in rural housing are intended to convey that blunders are inevitable, but assessing and learning from mistakes can actually improve your organization and its efforts.

A VIEW FROM WASHINGTON

HUD Secretary Julián Castro Discusses Rural Housing
by the Housing Assistance Council

Newly Appointed Under Secretary of Rural Development Lisa Mensah
by Lisa Mensah

FEATURES

“My House Is Backwards!”
by Scott McReynolds

The Housing Development Alliance takes a calm but straightforward approach to mistakes: admit them, fix them, and learn from them in hopes of not making the same mistake twice.

A Promising Concept… With a Harsh Realization
by Laura Buxbaum

After self-examination, a housing nonprofit in Maine asks, “How did we get here? What might we have done differently? And would we ever, under any circumstances, do it again?”

The Gray Panthers of El Dorado, Amador, and Placer Counties: How the Good Guys Finally Won
by John Frisk

A local citizenboard and a group of rural “housers” kept a project afloat after near-collapse in its early years resulting in a development that now serves the community with 40 units of senior housing.

Always Improving, One Misstep at a Time
by Nick Mitchell-Bennet and Kathy Tyler

“I have not failed. I have just found ten thousand ways that won’t work.” Thomas Edison was no stranger to failures, but he took a healthy approach to mistakes.

Farmworker Housing Travails from Pennsylvania
by John Wiltse

PathStone stayed the course through a ten-year predevelopment process and emerged a stronger real-estate developer.

Underestimating Bureaucracy in Bureaus
by Marvin Ginn

Cutting through red tape on tribal lands comes with unique pitfalls

Trust AND Verify
by Wilbur Cave

A seemingly small oversight can become a big problem quickly

Additional Content

rvspring15-infographic-thumbMortgage Lending and Access in Rural America

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.

Revisiting Poverty in Rural America

Where are we 50 years after the war on poverty began?

In the 2014 special edition of Rural Voices magazine, HAC revisits the issue of rural poverty with frank questions, informed viewpoints, and honest assessments. Experts and contributors from across the nation help provide a better understanding of this complex issue and its intersection with housing in rural communities.

rv-se-2014-cover

Where are we 50 years after the war on poverty began?

In the 2014 special edition of Rural Voices magazine, HAC revisits the issue of rural poverty with frank questions, informed viewpoints, and honest assessments. Experts and contributors from across the nation help provide a better understanding of this complex issue and its intersection with housing in rural communities.

FEATURES

Rural Poverty, Before & After the War
by James P. Ziliak, Center for Poverty Research and Department of Economics, University of Kentucky

The 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty has generated scores of articles, books, and radio and television reports. Lost in much of this coverage is the acute hardship facing rural America at the dawn of the 1960s, and the role this played in shaping the nation’s response to poverty.

A Frank Discussion on Persistent Poverty in Rural America

Forgotten or hidden from mainstream America, several rural areas and populations are isolated geographically, lack resources and economic opportunities, and have suffered through decades of disinvestment and double-digit poverty rates. Persistent poverty is most evident within several rural regions and populations, including the Lower Mississippi Delta, the rural Southeast, Central Appalachia, Native American lands, the colonias along the U.S. Mexico border, and migrant and seasonal farmworkers.

Among the most economically depressed areas in the country, addressing social, economic, and housing problems has proved challenging. To help better understand this issue, Rural Voices spoke with five housing experts, each with decades of experice providing housing and working with low-income familes in persistent poverty areas. Their firsthand knowledge presents an unparalleled view into the harsh reality of families and communities grappling with long-term poverty. These experts offer their insights, passion, and commitment to help solve what is often considered an intractable problem.

  • Bill Bynum is the CEO of Hope Enterprise Corporation/Hope Credit Union (HOPE). Bill has worked with HOPE for over 20 years providing banking opportunities to low-income individuals and families in the Mid South.
  • Tom Carew is the Executive Vice President of Membership and Advocacy at the Federation of Appalachian Housing Enterprises (FAHE). Tom has more than 34 years of experience providing affordable housing in Central Appalachia.
  • Ann Cass is the Executive Director of Proyecto Azetca and has over three decades of experience working in the Texas border colonias.
  • Emma “Pinky” Clifford is the Executive Director for the Oglala Sioux Tribe Partnership for Housing (OSTPH). As a tribal member of the Oglala Sioux, Pinky has worked to improve access to safe, affordable housing with OSTPH for the past two decades.
  • Selvin McGahee is the Executive Director of Florida Non-Profit Housing, Inc. and has spent his career working to provide affordable housing in the rural Southeast and farmworker housing.

Decline in Senior Poverty: A Success Story…
by the Housing Assistance Council

One of the biggest successes in reducing poverty has been among older Americans.

…With a Cautionary Outlook
by Kim Datwyler, Executive Director, Neighborhood Nonprofit Housing Corporation (NNHC)

Staying Housed on a Fixed Income: The Importance of Available Affordable Housing for Seniors

From a Spare Bedroom to a Home of Her Own
by Stacey Howard, Dream$avers IDA Program Director, NeighborWorks Umpqua

A Single Mother’s Struggle Out of Poverty to Provide a Better Life for Her Son

Innovative Approaches to Reducing Poverty Locally

The problem of poverty is often viewed from a national or regional perspective. But success in moving people out of poverty can emanate from community-specific innovation and solutions.

  • Job Skills through Housing Development – Motivation, Education, Training, Inc. (Texas)
  • Combating Poverty in Puerto Rico with Job Training & Economic Development – Pathstone (Puerto Rico)
  • IDAs Help Low-Income Families Save for Increased Opportunities in Rural Oregon – NeighborWorks Umpqua (Oregon)

A VIEW FROM WASHINGTON

“The People Left Behind” Are Today the People Still Behind
by Joe Belden and Lance George

Additional Content

rv-se-infographic-piraPoverty in Rural America

Approximately 45 million Americans, or 15 percent of the population, had incomes below the official poverty rate in 2012. In rural America, the poverty rate is above 17 percent with more than 10 million people living in poverty.

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.

What does affordable housing mean to you? Rural families share their stories

The Fall 2014 issue of Rural Voices presents the perspectives of rural families, their challenges of living in unaffordable or substandard conditions, and how they ultimately utilized federal resources to obtain quality housing. These success stories almost always involve innovative community-based organizations that provide the vital link between housing resources and the families who need them.

What does affordable housing mean to you?The Fall 2014 issue of Rural Voices presents the perspectives of rural families, their challenges of living in unaffordable or substandard conditions, and how they ultimately utilized federal resources to obtain quality housing. These success stories almost always involve innovative community-based organizations that provide the vital link between housing resources and the families who need them.

VIEW FROM WASHINGTON

Affordable Rural Housing: It’s Not a Nicety But a Necessity
by Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II, Missouri’s Fifth District

Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II, shares his housing story and offers his views on housing across the country

FEATURES

The Balancing Act
by Joey Henderson, Florida Home Partnership, Inc.

A single mother’s self-help journey

“Our Home, Our Community”
by Lucero Cortez and Erika Parkinson, Catholic Charities of Yakima

Zaida Elena Lopez and Ivan Chavez

Making Almost Heaven a Reality in Rural West Virginia
by John David, Southern Appalchian Labor School (SALS)

Converting a log cabin to a modern home means this widow does not have to live in the cold

The Power of Working Together

Three families share their experiences with USDA’s Mutual Self-Help Program

“I’ve lived here my whole life.”

Leslie Robbins, Jr.

Self-Help, Sweat Equity and Success
by BC EchoHawk, National American Indian Housing Council (NAIHC)

“It made me feel good, it made me powerful and I’m looking forward to spending whatever days I have, God bless me, in that house.”

A Farmer’s Fight
byYuqi Wang, Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellow

Many Hmong farmers have recently experienced financial problems from faulty loans

Additional Content

rv-fall-2014-mapThe Faces of Affordable Housing

What does Affordable Housing Mean to You?

“We wouldn’t want to live any place else”

The Davis Family (SALS, WV)

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.

Is the Housing Crisis Over? And how did it impact rural America?

The July 2014 issue of Rural Voices takes another look at the housing crisis and asks some important questions. Knowledgeable experts in the affordable housing field share their expertise, insights, and strategies to improve housing conditions in light of the Great Recession.

VIEW FROM WASHINGTON

Discussing Community Reinvestment in Rural America
by Thomas J. Curry, Comptroller of the Currency

How banks and federal savings associations can more effectively serve the credit needs of rural communities

SPECIAL FEATURE

Is the Housing Crisis Over? And how did it impact rural America?
An interview with:

Eric Belsky, Director, Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University
Sheila Crowley, Executive Director, National Low Income Housing Coalition
Gail Burks, President & CEO, Nevada Fair Housing, Center, Inc.
Chuck Wehrwein, Acting President & CEO, NeighborWorks America

Four national leaders discuss the housing crisis and its impact on rural America

FEATURES

Repurposing Foreclosed Properties in Rural America
by Noel Poyo, Executive Director, and Christopher W. Sanchez, Program Director, National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders (NALCAB)

A consortium of nonprofits works at the local level to reverse the devastating effects of the foreclosure crisis

Housing Counseling Services Offer More Than Just Counseling
by Keith L. Morris, President, Elder Law of Michigan

While housing counselors are instrumental in helping people avoid foreclosure, they also provide invaluable resources to help families improve their lives

Making a Difference in Rural America
by Tony Hernandez, Administrator, USDA Rural Housing Service

Newly appointed Rural Housing Service administrator shares his thoughts and priorities for USDA’s housing initiatives

MAPS

the housing crisis and its wake in RURAL AmericaThe housing crisis and its wake in rural America– (Interactive Prezi)

Add your Response

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.

Looking to the Future: Youth and Housing in Rural America

thumb_rvmarch2014-coverThe March 2014 issue of Rural Voices, “Looking to the Future: Housing and Youth in Rural America” is now available for download from the Housing Assistance Council. This edition looks at the unique issues related to youth and housing in rural America. The edition also features several organizations that directly serve rural youth.

FEATURES

Children Growing up in Rural America
by Marybeth J. Mattingly and Cynthia M. Duncan, The Carsey Institute

Characteristics and challenges of a changing population.

Serving Families from Roots to the Moon
by Nadia Villagrán, Coachella Valley Housing Coalition

How California’s Coachella Valley Housing Coalition helped improve the lives of one rural farmworker family.

Young People Build Affordable Housing and Transform Their Lives
by Karen Jacobson, Randolph County Housing Authority

YouthBuild provides young rural Americans with the opportunity to build job skills, and homes, in their own communities.

Young Rural Housing Leaders Reflect

A group of graduates from the California Coalition for Rural Housing’s Youth Internship program discuss opportunities for youth in rural America.

Lead Poisoning: Not Just a Problem for Urban Youth
by Ron Rupp,

Lead paint is common in older rural housing and is considered to be the leading environmental health threat to young children.

VIEW FROM WASHINGTON

Congress Acts on Rural Housing
by Joe Belden and Leslie Strauss

A federal budget and extension of eligibility for rural communities are positive steps for affordable rural housing. The proposed 2015 budget? Not so much.

MAPS

thumb_childrenandyouthmapChildren & Youth in Rural America – (Interactive Prezi)

Add your Response

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 below, tweet #RuralVoicesMag, discuss on the Rural Affordable Housing Group on LinkedIn, or on our Facebook page.

Filling the Gaps Creating Housing Options for Seniors in Rural Communities

The Fall 2013 edition issue of Rural Voices focuses on housing for seniors in rural America. As America ages, the challenge of housing its low- and moderate-income senior population becomes an increasingly pressing issue. Rural communities face additional challenges in providing much needed services to a spread out population.

View from Washington

Q&A with Senator Kit Bond
Senator Kit Bond discusses his work with the BiPartisan Policy Center’s Housing Commission and its recommendations for housing older Americans

FEATURES

The Seniors are Coming! Oh Wait, They’re Here

by Dr. E. Hellen Berry,
The effects of an aging population are already being felt in rural America and will continue over the next two decades

Declining Funds in the Section 202 Program

by Alayna Waldrum, LeadingAge
Community action programs can play an important role in addressing both housing and food security needs in rural America.

Minor Repairs Create Major Improvements for Tribal Elder Homes

by Rick Tewa, Pueblo de Cochiti Housing Authority
Housing repair and rehabilitation can be critical for seniors who desire to remain in their home, but physical impairments and fixed budgets can often make these repairs impossible to perform without assistance

Seniors Look to Resident-Owned Manufactured Communities

by Chelsea Catto, Casa of Oregon
Across the country, innovative manufactured housing options are serving seniors who want to age in place in a strong and supportive community

Providing Successful Transportation Options for Seniors in Rural Communities

by Debbie Dauenhauer, Southern Nevada Transit Coalition
The Southern Nevada Transit Coalition’s Silver Riders Program has taken on the task of mitigating transportation challenges for seniors in rural Nevada

MAPS

thumb_aging-rural-america-mapAn Aging Rural America (jpg)
MAP – A Demographic Portrait of Seniors in Rural America

Infographics

Add your Response

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 below, at the Rural Affordable Housing Group on LinkedIn, or on our Facebook page.