Hunger and Housing in Rural America: Intersecting Challenges and Solutions

The Summer 2013 special edition issue of Rural Voices focuses on Hunger and Housing in Rural America. With housing affordability an increasing challenge, and hunger a more pronounced issue, how are rural communities combatting these issues?

View from Washington

Supporting Rural America’s Housing and Nutrition Needs
by Under Secretary Kevin Concannon, USDA Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services
The USDA offers programs that support rural communities to address their housing and food security needs.


Rural Hunger and Housing: Challenges and Opportunities
by Lorette Picciano, Rural Coalition/Coalición Rural
Rural America faces challenges and opportunities in housing and food security.

Building Homes and Feeding the Hungry in Rural Pennsylvania
by Kate Thompson, Fayette County Community Action Agency
Community action programs can play an important role in addressing both housing and food security needs in rural America.

Farmworker Housing: Implications for Food Security and Food Safety
by Sara A. Quandt and Thomas A. Arcury, Wake Forest School of Medicine
Although they help feed America, farmworkers often face substandard conditions and food insecurity at their own tables.

Growing Food and Housing Security in South Dakota’s Native American Reservations
by Lauren Haas Finkelstein, Running Strong for American Indian Youth
South Dakota’s Native American community is fighting hunger and substandard housing to protect their children and future leaders.

Food Justice in the Rural Southeast
by John Zippert, Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund
Southern farmers are forming cooperatives and coalitions to secure food and housing justice while overcoming a history of discriminatory land and farm policies.

Developing Leadership to Address Health & Hunger
Interview with Starry Krueger, Rural Development Leadership Network
Rural Voices recently interviewed Starry Krueger of the Rural Development Leadership Network, about a new leadership development program in Mississippi.


Hunger & Poverty in Rural America (jpg)
MAP – Many rural communities struggle to access enough nutritious food for their families.

Addressing Child Hunger in Rural New Mexico
Share Our Strength

What are Rural Food Deserts?


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

7 Issues Facing Rural America

The Spring 2013 issue of Rural Voices focuses on 7 issues facing rural America, and conversations from the 2012 National Rural Housing Conference around those issues.


7 Issues Facing Rural America: Leading Rural Housing Forward
by the Housing Assistance Council

Saving USDA Rural Development and Its Programs
by Peter Carey, Self-Help Enterprises, Inc.

Rural Rental Housing Preservation
by Tom Bishop, Homestead Affordable Housing, Inc., and Leslie Strauss, HAC

Energy Efficiency Issues in Rural Affordable Housing
by Meghan Walsh, USDA Rural Development

Housing Options for Rural Seniors
by Gus Seelig, Vermont Housing and Conservation Board

Serving High Needs Areas and Vulnerable Populations
by Marty Miller, Office of Rural Farmworker Housing, Andy Saavedra, Mid South Delta LISC, and Leslie Strauss

Building a New Generation of Rural Housing Professionals and Leaders
by Gisela Salgado and Rob Weiner, California Rural Housing Coalition

Strategic Partnerships for Rural Nonprofits
by David Dangler, NeighborWorks Rural Initiative, and Tom Carew, FAHE

View from Washington

Sequestration Hurts and Disappointing FY14 Budget Doesn’t Heal
by The Housing Assistance Council

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

Winter 2012 – 13: Taking Stock of Housing in Your Community

The winter 2012 – 13 issue of Rural Voices, Taking Stock of Housing in Your Community, is now available for download from the Housing Assistance Council. This issue includes information about the data resources available for rural community devlopers and advocates to document housing needs in their communities and make their case to policy makers.

View from Washington

Erika Poethig, Acting Assistant Secretary
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Policy Development and Research


Developing a Statistical Portrait of your Community
by Arthur Cresce, The U.S. Census Bureau
Using the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey

What is Rural?
by the Housing Assistance Council
A question that matters

Information on What Banks Are Doing in Your Community
by John Taylor, National Community Reinvesment Corporation
Getting the Most from Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) Data

Data Resources for Rural Communities
A Visual Guide to Selected Data and Information Sources

Q&A with John Cromartie
Rural Voices
sat down with John Cromartie, Senior Geographer at USDA’s Economic Research Service, to discuss demographic trends and data for rural areas

The National Housing Preservation Database
by Megan Bolton, National Low-Income Housing Coalition
A long awaited national database of federally-assisted housing can make the case for affordable housing preservation

Share your Story

Rural Voices is curious to hear your stories of how you have used data to further your work in your community. Do you have a story from your own community to share on this subject? Please share your story on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter and help demonstrate the importance of accurate data for rural communities across the country.

September 2012: America’s Rural Heroes

The September 2012 of Rural Voices, America’s Rural Heroes.

Read more

Spring 2012: HOME Works for Rural Communities

The Spring 2012 issue of Rural Voices includes more than 25 brief success stories from rural organizations that have utilized the HOME program to develop housing, create jobs, and provide decent affordable homes for their communities.

Views from Washington

The HOME Investment Partnerships Program: Cornerstone of Affordable Housing Development Efforts
by Senator Partick Leahy, (D – VT)

The HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME)
by Mercedes Márquez


What is the HOME Program
A detailed overview of the HOME Program.

The New HOME Rules and What They Mean
HUD has plans to make several changes to the HOME Final Rule. What are those changes and how will they impact rural communities?


This issue of Rural Voices features success stories from organizations that have successfully utilized the HOME program to develop housing, create jobs, and provide decent affordable housing for their communities.

HAC would like to thank the following organizations for sharing their stories:

Brazos Valley Affordable Housing Corporation, City of Hesperia/Hesperia Housing Authority, City of Santa Clarita, Cocopah Indian Housing and Development, Community Action, Inc., Community Development Commission of Mendocino County, Community Housing Partners, Community Support Program, Inc., Crawford-Sebastian CDC, Delta Area Economic Opportunity Corporation, Economic Security Corporation, Freedom West Community Development Corporation, Inter-Lakes Community Action Partnership, New Mexico Housing & Community Development Corporation, Northwest Housing Alternatives, Opportunities for Chenango Inc., PathStone Corporation, PRIDE of Ticonderoga, Inc., Self Help Enterprises, South County Housing Corporation, Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership, St. Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County, Inc., Tierra Del Sol Housing Corporation, Tri-County Opportunities Council, Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, and Walker Montgomery Community Development Corporation.

Share your Story

Rural Voices is not a large enough publication in which to cover all the stories of how HOME has positively benefitted communities across the country. Do you have a great story from your own community to share on this subject? Please tell us in the comments below, share your story on Facebook, LinkedIn, or tweet #HUDHOMEWorks and help demonstrate the importance of the HOME program to communities across the country.

HOME program weblinks.

Share your HOME Success Story

Winter 2011 – 12: Affordable Rural Senior Housing

Access a pdf version of Rural Voices.

Views from Washington

Affordable Housing and Services for Seniors

by Nancy Libson and Robyn Stone, LeadingAge

AARP Foundation Launching Strategy to Address Housing Needs
by John Carpenter, AARP Foundation


Rehab – Renew: Housing Rehabilitation for Seniors
The Self-Help Home Improvement Project (SHHIP) has developed several products and strategies to assist their primarily senior clientelle in rural California.

Opportunities to Meet the Needs of Seniors in Rural America
Cathedral Square Corporation (CSC), the largest provider of affordable senior housing in Vermont, shares its methods for development.

USDA Rural Development and HAC Work Together to Improve Housing in Rural Iowa
USDA Rural Development in Iowa details several examples of HAC and USDA RD facilitating local development partnerships and projects.

Section 202: Interview with Carolyn Branton
Carolyn Branton, Director of HAC’s Southeast Regional Office, sits down for an interview to discuss the uses of and importance of HUD’s Section 202 program.

Senior Housing in Rural Washington
The story of Catholic Charities Housing Services’ senior housing development, Rose of Mary Terrace from conception in 2003 to completion in 2008.

Reverse Mortgages After the Recession
Learn more about reverse mortgages as they apply to older Americans. What are the advantages, pitfalls and precautions to be aware of when using these loan products.

Fall 2011: Housing and Water: The Critical Connection

Access a pdf version of Rural Voices.

A joint issue of HAC’s Rural Voices and the Rural Community Assistance Partnership’s (RCAP) Rural Matters

View From Washington

USDA and the Obama Administration: Working to meet the needs of rural homeowners
by USDA Rural Development Undersecretary Dallas Tonsager


Figuring It Out: Bringing Infrastructure to Affordable Housing Development Projects
Infrastructure improvements can rapidly increase the cost of an affordable housing development. HOPE shares strategies that have worked for them to fund these improvements.

Former Pineapple Plantation Continues to Bear Fruit
A Hawaii nonprofit partners with RCAP to save the affordable housing in Kunia after a pineapple producer leaves the town.

A Housing and Water Project that is ‘A Gift From God’
The community of Hobson Bay, Va. improved its infrastructure and housing stock dramatically with the help of Southeast RCAP.

Persistence and Perseverance: Tackling Infrastructure Challenges in Northwest, North Carolina
Comprehensive infrastructure development plans must take into account political and financial challenges that may impact even the most well thought-out project.

Location, Location, Location: Developing the Morley Meadows Subdivision in Santaquin, Utah
As with all housing development, location is key; however, when infrastructure is taken into account, location can be both an asset and a challenge.

Creating Comfortable Housing for a Growing Population of Seniors
How RCAP Solutions assembled the Townsend Woods project, the first LEED-certified HUD 202 senior development in Massachusetts.

Keeping the Water Flowing in Rural America for 35 Years
For 35 years, Community Resource Group has been working to insure access to clean, safe water for all rural Americans.

Summer 2011: Lower Mississippi Delta

Access a pdf version of Rural Voices.

View From Washington

Housing in the Mississippi Delta
by Congressman Bennie Thompson


Lower Mississippi Delta Nonprofit Capacity Survey Results Summary
A summary of HAC’s survey of Delta nonprofit housing developers, implemented to gain a better understanding of the existing network of organizations and their needs.

Housing Rehabilitation in the Delta
By David Hargrove
Partnering with local high schools, the Purchase Area Housing Corporation is building homes and providing valuable job training for local youth at the same time.

Making Homeownership Attainable: Family Resources of New Orleans
By Paula Pete
Family Resources of New Orleans is working in areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina and the gulf oil spill to help families who are still struggling to recover.

From Helpless to Hopeful to Homeowner
By Dazetta L. Thorne
Seventh District Pavilion, Inc., is finding success through its housing counseling program one homeowner at a time.\

When Lightning Strikes Twice: Disaster Recovery in Yazoo County
By Linda Smith
After the county was hit by tornadoes twice in less than eight months, the Esther Stewart Buford Foundation is working to help families prepare for the next storm.

“Building Today’s Communities for Tomorrow” in Louisiana
By Emel J. Alexander and Vernard Sterling, Jr.
Urban Restoration Enhancement Corporation relies on partnerships to help the residents of Baton Rouge and the surrounding parishes help themselves.

Special Edition 2011: Rural Housing Programs That Work

Access a pdf version of Rural Voices.


USDA Housing Programs:

Expand Homeownership. By providing affordable mortgages to low- and very low-income households, USDA Sections 502 and 523 increase homeownership rates beyond what the private market will support.

  • USDA Housing Programs have Countless Benefits, by Neal Gibson, NRHA
  • USDA Funding Helps Put an End to the Cycle of Poverty In Rural Colorado, by Brittnee Wood, CRHDC
  • A Chance at Homeownership, by Tom Sommerville, HRWC
  • Building Sustainable Assets through Homeownership, by Dana Cleary, CHISPA

Promote Affordability. The low rates of foreclosure for self-help and other USDA-financed homes show that USDA housing programs provide truly affordable mortgages.

  • Bringing Down Housing Costs in Hawaii, by Claudia Shay, SHHCH
  • Innovating to Affordability, by Mark Kvammen, NEICAC

Create Jobs. Section 502 funds support local businesses that sell materials, construction workers, plumbers, electricians, and others who depend on housing development for their livelihood.

  • States Recognize the Benefit of USDA Housing Programs, by Jill Lordan, NCALL
  • Supporting Local Businesses in Kentucky, by Wilma Kelley, BHDC
  • Getting the Economic Ball Rolling , by Kimberly Miller, UHDC.

Stabilize Families and Communities. Homeownership benefits families through a more stable environment for children and more investment in the surrounding community; particularly if the whole block help build one another’s home.

  • With Drive and Determination, by Becky Reynolds, Little Dixie CAA
  • Finding a Way Home, by David Ferrier, CHIP
  • Building Homes and Communities in America’s Breadbasket, by Tom Collishaw, SHE

Conference 2010: Rural Housing Leaders Reflect: Where do we go from here?

Access a pdf version of Rural Voices.

  • Pinky Clifford, Oglala Sioux Tribal Partnerships for Housing
  • Peter Carey, Self-Help Enterprises
  • Rose Garcia, Tierra del Sol Housing Corporation
  • John Zippert, The Federation of Southern Cooperatives
  • Steve Kirk, Rural Housing, Inc.
  • Griffin Lotson, Sams Memorial Community Economic Development, Inc.
  • Art Gonzales, Southeastern Wisconsin Housing Corporation
  • Polly Nichol, Vermont Housing and Conservation Board