Advocates at homelessness march

Housing Assistance Council Statement on Proposed $54.5 Million Set Aside for Homelessness in Rural Communities

The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) applauds the new funding package announced by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on June 22, 2022 to provide people experiencing homelessness in the nation’s cities and rural communities with the support they need. In total, HUD’s initiative includes $322 million targeted to addressing unsheltered and rural homelessness. Of this, $54.5 million is set aside for rural communities to help connect individuals and families experiencing homelessness to housing, healthcare and supportive services.

“This is a remarkable investment in terms of its size, targeting and design,” said HAC CEO David Lipsetz. “HUD recognizes that homelessness looks different in rural places than in large cities, and is customizing this initiative to address the unique capacity challenges that rural Continuums of Care face.” In particular, rural communities can apply for capacity-building support—which is not an eligible activity under the annual Continuum of Care competition or the unsheltered homelessness set aside. Funds can also support home repairs, outreach, supportive services and more. By specifically targeting rural communities that have historically not had access to HUD homeless assistance grants, this special funding announcement goes a long way toward ensuring an equitable approach for underserved communities.

HUD’s announcement reflects HAC’s longstanding efforts to educate policymakers on the unique needs of rural communities seeking to address homelessness. “HAC played an essential role informing the drafting and early implementation of the HEARTH Act of 2009, which overhauled HUD’s homeless assistance programs for the first time in two decades,” said Jonathan Harwitz, HAC’s Director of Public Policy, who worked on the HEARTH Act as a Congressional staffer and at HUD. “It is gratifying that HUD’s special funding announcement today reflects HAC’s feedback on HEARTH Act implementation over the past decade.”

HAC News: June 23, 2022

TOP STORIES

House proposes increasing some rural housing funding.

On June 23, the House Appropriations Committee approved a bill to fund USDA for fiscal year 2023, which begins on October 1, 2022. The measure would provide less funding for several rural housing programs than the administration’s budget requested. It would increase the Section 515 rental housing program and the MPR rental preservation program above current levels, but not as much as the administration proposed. It would raise the Rural Community Development Initiative capacity building program from this year’s $6 million to $8 million in FY23 rather than the $12 million USDA requested. The House bill does not adopt USDA’s proposal to “decouple” the Section 521 Rental Assistance program from the Section 515 and 514/516 programs, a change that would allow properties to continue to receive RA after their USDA mortgages end. Like USDA’s budget, the House bill would expand USDA’s pilot program for Native American mortgage lending, which provides funds to Native CDFIs to be reloaned to homebuyers. More details are available on HAC’s website.

House HUD appropriations bill proposes new vouchers and new manufactured housing program.

The House’s draft FY23 HUD funding bill would increase the department’s total funding above both its FY22 level and the amount requested in the administration’s budget. The House Appropriations Committee estimates the bill would fund more than 140,000 new housing vouchers and approximately 5,600 new units for seniors and persons with disabilities. It would provide $500 million for a new Manufactured Housing Improvement and Financing Program to preserve and revitalize manufactured homes and their communities (including pre-1976 mobile homes). It would also set aside $50 million in HOME funds for down payment assistance for first-time, first-generation home buyers. More details are available on HAC’s website. The House Transportation-HUD appropriations subcommittee will hold a markup on June 23 and the full House Appropriations Committee is scheduled to consider the bill on June 30.

Rural setaside included in major new HUD homeless funding initiative.

On June 22 HUD announced a $365 million Initiative for Unsheltered and Rural Homelessness. The funds will be distributed through Continuums of Care and public housing authorities; the application deadline for COCs is October 20. The initiative includes $54.5 million in CoC program grants designated for rural communities, prioritizing places that have high need but a history of being unable to access CoC grants. HUD is using congressionally granted authority to expand the eligible uses for these funds. Another $267.5 million will be targeted to 20-40 communities with high incidences of unsheltered homelessness. Finally, $43 million – approximately 4,000 new incremental vouchers – will be allocated to PHAs with a priority for those that are partners in comprehensive community approaches to solve homelessness. More details are available on HAC’s site.

Inequality widening despite some good news in overall housing markets, says annual study.

Higher interest rates are cooling the demand for market-rate housing and rental construction is increasing, but the affordability crisis is not likely to improve for lower-income households and households of color, according to a new State of the Nation’s Housing 2022 report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. Purchases of second homes add to the stress in rural areas, JCHS reports, although remote work is less common now than earlier in the pandemic. The paper also notes that the existing housing stock needs investment to meet the demands of the aging population and the threats posed by climate change.

Rural Voices celebrates HAC.

With the title 50 Years of HAC, the latest issue of HAC’s Rural Voices magazine celebrates this milestone anniversary by considering the past 50 years while focusing on the next 50. It revisits some of the many rural communities in which HAC has worked, and it features visions of the future from rural places and rural housing leaders around the country.

RuralSTAT

Seven of 10 rural bankers in the Midwest described their local economy as expanding at the beginning of 2022, while only 6.7% indicated that their local economy was in a modest economic downturn. Source: Survey by Creighton University’s Heider College of Business.

OPPORTUNITIES

USDA offers water system funding.

  • The Rural Decentralized Water Systems Grant Program enables nonprofits and Tribal lending institutions to create revolving loan funds or make sub-grants to low-income homeowners who need assistance constructing, refurbishing, or servicing household water well or wastewater systems. This program can be used in places with populations of up to 50,000. Applications are due July 31. For more information, contact Lola Maratita, USDA, 615-714-8883.
  • The Revolving Fund Program makes grants to nonprofits to create revolving loan funds to build and improve water and wastewater disposal systems operated by state and local governmental entities, nonprofits, and Tribes in places with populations of 10,000 or less. Applications are due July 31. For more information, contact a local USDA RD office.

Lead hazard reduction and research funds announced.

  • HUD’s Lead Hazard Reduction Program funds efforts to identify and control lead-based paint hazards in privately owned rental or owner-occupied housing. Local governments, some state governments, and some Tribes are eligible, and consortium applicants may include nonprofits. Apply by August 8. For more information, contact Yolanda Brown, HUD, 202-903-9576.
  • The Lead and Healthy Homes Technical Studies Grant Program funds state, local, and Tribal governments, nonprofit and for-profit entities, and others to conduct studies to improve knowledge of housing-related health and safety hazards and to improve or develop new hazard assessment and control methods. Applications are due July 17. For more information, contact Kofi Berko, Jr., HUD, 202-402-7696.

Creative placemaking grants available from NEA.

Our Town or Nuestra Ciudad, the creative placemaking grants program of the National Endowment for the Arts, offers grants from $25,000 to $150,000 with a 1:1 match requirement. The program supports activities that integrate arts, culture, and design into local efforts to advance local economic, physical, or social outcomes. These projects require a partnership between a nonprofit organization and a local government entity, with one of the partners being a cultural organization. The first part of the application is due August 4. For more information, contact NEA staff, OT@arts.gov.

USDA 502 packaging class offered online.

This upcoming Section 502 Direct Certified Loan Packager Course is full, but the waitlist remains open! HAC will present a virtual five-day advanced course on July 25-29 preparing participants to take the loan packaging certification exam for USDA’s Section 502 direct loan program. This course is for those experienced in utilizing Section 502 and/or other affordable housing mortgage products. The registration fee is $500. For more information, contact HAC staff, registration@ruralhome.org, 202-516-6271.

REGULATIONS AND FEDERAL AGENCIES

Input requested on proposed inspection standards.

Comments are due August 1 on inspection standards that will become part of implementing HUD’s proposed rule on National Standards for the Physical Inspection of Real Estate (NSPIRE), aligning housing quality requirements and inspection standards across programs. HUD is also suggesting changes to its previously proposed list of life-threatening conditions and incorporating them into the NSPIRE inspection standards. For more information, contact Marcel M. Jemio, HUD, 202-708-1112.

HUD to create Tribal advisory committee.

HUD requests comments on its planned creation of a Tribal Intergovernmental Advisory Committee, to be made up of duly elected Tribal leaders representing small, medium, and large federally recognized Tribes. The committee is intended to further communications between HUD and federally recognized Tribes on HUD programs, make recommendations and provide advice to HUD, and encourage peer learning and capacity building among Tribes and non-Tribal entities. Comments are due August 22. For more information, contact Heidi J. Frechette, HUD, 202-402-7598.

Changes in fair lending oversight recommended.

A Government Accountability Office review found problems in the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s oversight of national banks’ compliance with fair lending laws. Fair Lending: Opportunities Exist to Enhance OCC’s Oversight of Banks’ Lending Practices explains that OCC made major process changes in 2018, after which the number of fair lending exams of smaller banks dropped sharply. It also used outdated examination guidance, examiners sometimes followed procedures inconsistently, and it did not assess the effects of its process changes. GAO reports that OCC has planned actions to address its recommendations.

Pilot aims to assist farmworkers and employers.

USDA has announced it will work with other federal agencies to develop a pilot program that will address challenges both workers and employers face in using the H-2A visa program and will improve working conditions for both U.S. farmworkers and H-2A workers. USDA plans to consult stakeholders and the United Farm Workers of America as it develops a competitive pilot program for launch ahead of the growing season in early 2023.

PUBLICATIONS AND MEDIA

Interactive graphics show relief aided renters during pandemic but underlying issues remain.

Relief Measures Reduced Hardship for Renters During Pandemic, but Many Still Struggle to Pay Rent in Every State, developed by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, shows how relief measures such as the national eviction moratorium and the Emergency Rental Assistance program reduced hardship for renters, but only temporarily. People of color and families with children, as well as low-income residents in the Southeastern U.S., were most likely to fall behind on rent payments.

3D-printed homes to be developed in rural Virginia.

Project Virginia will develop 200 3D-printed homes in Virginia to serve as workforce housing. The first two are being built in Pulaski, in a region seeing high growth for tech jobs. Project developer Alquist 3D anticipates that 3D-printed homes will help ease affordability issues as more jobs move in.

HAC

HAC seeks Loan Officer for Rental Preservation and Housing Specialist – Native American Communities.

  • The Loan Officer, Rental Preservation, conducts rental housing lending and preservation technical assistance activities. This work includes marketing, originating, and underwriting new loan transactions in the Loan Fund Division. The Loan Officer also provides hands-on technical assistance to nonprofits that are seeking to acquire and preserve existing USDA-financed (Section 515) rental developments. This position is eligible for telecommuting.
  • The Housing Specialist – Native American Communities is responsible for providing direct technical assistance, coaching, and training to tribal communities, tribal housing departments, tribal housing authorities, and nonprofit organizations serving tribal communities. Travel is required. This position is eligible for telecommuting.

Need capital for your affordable housing project?

HAC’s loan fund provides low interest rate loans to support single- and multifamily affordable housing projects for low-income rural residents throughout the U.S. and territories. Capital is available for all types of affordable and mixed-income housing projects, including preservation, new development, farmworker, senior and veteran housing. HAC loan funds can be used for pre-development, site acquisition, site development, construction/rehabilitation and permanent financing. Contact HAC’s loan fund staff at hacloanfund@ruralhome.org, 202-842-8600.

Please note: HAC is not able to offer loans to individuals or families. Borrowers must be nonprofit or for-profit organizations or government entities (including tribes).

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Policy News from Congress

House HUD Appropriations Bill Proposes New Vouchers and New Manufactured Housing Program

The House’s draft FY23 appropriations bill for HUD would increase the department’s total funding above both the FY22 level and the amount requested in the administration’s budget. (See table below.) The House Appropriations Committee estimates the bill would fund more than 140,000 new housing vouchers targeted to individuals and families experiencing or at risk of homelessness and approximately 5,600 new units for seniors and persons with disabilities.

The House’s HUD bill would provide $500 million for a new Manufactured Housing Improvement and Financing Program to preserve and revitalize manufactured homes and their communities (including pre-1976 mobile homes). Grants would be distributed through a competition, with eligible applicants including states, local governments, Tribes, nonprofits, CDFIs, resident-owned manufactured housing communities or coops, and possibly other entities. Funds could be used for “infrastructure, planning, resident and community services (including relocation assistance and eviction prevention), resiliency activities, and providing other assistance to residents or owners of manufactured homes, which may include providing assistance for manufactured housing land and site acquisition.”

House appropriators propose to increase the total funding for HOME to $1.675 billion from FY22’s $1.5 billion and to set aside $50 million of it to provide down payment assistance for first-time, first-generation home buyers.

The SHOP program would remain at its FY22 level of $12.5 million. The bill does not include funding for the small $4 million Veterans Home Rehabilitation program.

The bill would not create the Housing Supply Fund proposed in the administration’s budget.

The House Transportation-HUD appropriations subcommittee will hold a markup on June 23 and the full House Appropriations Committee is scheduled to consider the bill on June 30.

— HAC’s analysis of appropriations for USDA’s rural housing programs for FY23 is available here. —

HUD Program (dollars in millions) FY21 Final Approp. FY22 Final Approp. FY23 Admin. Budget House Bill
CDBG $3,475 $4,841* $3,770 $3,300
HOME 1,350 1,500 1,950 1,675
Self-Help Homeownshp. (SHOP) 10 12.5 10 12.5
Veterans Home Rehab 4 4 4 0
Tenant-Based Rental Asstnce. 25,778 27,370 32,130 31,043
    VASH setaside 40 50 0 50
    Tribal VASH 5 5 5 5
Project-Based Rental Asstnce. 13,465 13,940 15,000 14,940
Public Hsg. Capital Fund 2,942 3,388 3,720 3,400
Public Hsg. Operating Fund 4,864 5,064 5,060 5,039
Choice Neighbrhd. Initiative 200 350 250 450
Native Amer. Hsg. 825 1,002 1,000 1,000
Homeless Assistance Grants 3,000 3,213 3,576 3,604
Hsg. Opps. for Persons w/ AIDS 430 450 455 600
202 Hsg. for Elderly 855 1,033 966 1,200
811 Hsg. for Disabled 227 352 287 400
Fair Housing 72.6 85 86 86
Healthy Homes & Lead Haz. Cntl. 360 415 400 415
Housing Counseling 57.5 57.5 65.9 70

* The substantial increase in CDBG funding for FY22 was driven nearly entirely by the return, after a 10-year absence, of $1.5 billion for the Economic Development Initiative for the purpose of funding Community Projects/Congressionally Directed Spending (popularly known as “earmarks”).

 

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HUD Budget Proposes New Housing Investments

The Biden Administration’s budget for fiscal year 2023 proposes substantial investments in existing Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs (details are in the table below) and new initiatives targeted to:

  • Increasing affordable housing supply;
  • Expanding rental assistance and increasing its impact on households experiencing homelessness and family mobility; and
  • Addressing climate change.

The March 28 budget release is only the first step in the process of developing federal appropriations for the fiscal year that begins on October 1, 2022. HAC held a webinar to review the budget’s contents and what to expect over the coming months; view the slides and recording here.

Increasing Affordable Housing Supply

The budget proposes $50 billion in mandatory spending to increase and streamline affordable housing production. HUD would administer $35 billion of this total as a Housing Supply Fund, consisting of two elements:

  • $25 billion in formula grants to be distributed to “State and local housing finance agencies and their partners, territories, and Tribes” to support streamlined financing tools for multifamily and single-family units, producing housing for both renters and homebuyers. The funding is intended to facilitate the production and preservation of smaller developments that struggle to obtain financing in the current housing finance system. The budget specifically notes that “many rural and midsize jurisdictions need a path to development that includes smaller building footprints to better integrate with existing communities.”
  • $10 billion in grants to: 1) support state and local jurisdictions that adopt policies that remove barriers to affordable housing and development; and 2) incentivize funding of housing-related infrastructure such as environmental planning, transportation, and water/sewer infrastructure.

The remaining $15 billion in mandatory funding is to be administered by the Department of the Treasury, divided into:

  • $10 billion in additional Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC); and
  • $5 billion in grants to Community Development Financial Institutions to support financing for construction, acquisition, rehab and preservation of rental and homeownership housing, with an emphasis on increasing the participation of small-scale developers and contractors. The grants will seek to:
    • increase the climate resiliency and energy efficiency of affordable housing;
    • focus on underserved markets, including single-family, small properties (1-4 units) and small multifamily properties with fewer than 100 units;
    • expand homeownership opportunities by targeting single-family properties for individuals and families with incomes up to 120 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) and up to 150 percent of AMI in high cost areas (including acquisition and rehabilitation); and
    • preserve affordable housing that is at risk of conversion to market rate.

Additional investments in existing HUD programs designed to complement the Housing Supply Fund grants include $2 billion in funding for the HOME Investment Partnerships program ($150 million above the FY 2022 enacted level), $100 million in funding for 1,100 new units in the Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program, and 900 new units in the 811 Permanent Supportive Housing Program for Persons with Disabilities.

Rental Assistance, Homelessness, and Family Mobility

In addition to renewing all existing project-based rental assistance (PBRA) contracts and Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV) currently in use, the budget proposes $1.6 billion in funding to expand the Housing Choice Voucher program by 200,000 subsidies – the largest one-year expansion since the program’s inception – with the incremental subsidies targeting individuals fleeing domestic violence and persons experiencing homelessness. This effort to combat homelessness is coupled with a $576 million increase in the Homeless Assistance Grants account to $3 billion. The budget also includes $445 million in mobility services connected to use of HCVs in a broad range of communities.

Addressing Climate Change

In addition to the sustainability and resilience incentives in the Housing Supply Fund, the HUD budget includes:

  • $300 million to increase energy efficiency and climate resilience in public housing;
  • $150 million in funding for housing initiatives on Native American lands to increase energy efficiency and climate resilience and improve water conservation; and
  • $250 million to rehabilitate HUD multifamily properties to be healthier, more energy efficient, and climate-resilient.

 

Policy News town

Rural Setaside Included in Major New HUD Homeless Funding Initiative

On June 22 HUD announced a $365 million Initiative for Unsheltered and Rural Homelessness that will be distributed through Continuums of Care (CoC) and public housing authorities (PHAs) by means of two Notices of Funding Opportunity. The application deadline for CoCs is October 20. HUD is using recaptured CoC and Housing Choice Voucher funding from prior fiscal years to support the initiative.

The initiative includes $322 million in CoC program grants to be distributed by HUD’s Community Planning and Development division:

  • $267.5 million to fund homeless outreach, permanent housing, supportive services, and other costs as part of a comprehensive community approach to solve unsheltered homelessness in 20-40 communities with high incidences of unsheltered homelessness; and
  • $54.5 million targeted to rural communities, prioritizing those with high need but a history of being unable to access CoC grants. HUD is utilizing congressionally granted authority to expand the eligible uses for these funds beyond normal restrictions to enable rural communities to apply for grants to support capacity-building, transportation, and other needs more acutely felt in rural areas.

The division of Public and Indian Housing will distribute $43 million — approximately 4,000 new incremental vouchers — which will be allocated to PHAs with a priority for those that are partners in comprehensive community approaches to solve homelessness.

Policy News from Congress

House Funding Bill Includes Modest Increases for Some Rural Housing Programs, Though Less Than USDA Requested

On June 14, the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee approved a funding bill for fiscal year 2023, which begins on October 1, 2022. The House bill proposes less funding for several rural housing programs than the administration’s budget did, while also rejecting the administration’s cut in Community Facilities guaranteed loans.

The full committee will consider the bill on June 23.

The House would increase the Section 515 rental housing program and the MPR rental preservation program above current levels, but not to the extent proposed by the administration. It would raise the Rural Community Development Initiative capacity building program from this year’s $6 million to $8 million in FY23 rather than the $12 million USDA requested. The rental preservation technical assistance program would receive $2 million again under the House bill, although USDA did not propose any funding for it.

It is not clear whether the bill is intended to fund renewals of the Section 521 Rental Assistance contracts added by the American Rescue Plan Act, but it proposes lower funding for Section 521 than the administration’s budget, which explicitly stated it did include the new contracts. Also, the House bill does not adopt USDA’s proposal to “decouple” the Section 521 Rental Assistance program from the Section 515 and 514/516 programs, which would allow properties to continue to receive Rental Assistance after their USDA mortgages end.

Like USDA’s budget, the House bill would expand USDA’s pilot program for Native American mortgage lending, which provides funds to Native CDFIs to be reloaned to homebuyers.

— HAC’s analysis of FY23 appropriations for HUD is available here.  —

USDA Rural Dev. Prog.

(dollars in millions)

FY21 Final Approp. Amer. Rescue Plan Act FY22 Final Approp. FY23 Budget FY23 House Bill
502 Single Fam. Direct $1,000 $656.6 $1,250 $1,5o0 $1,500
Nat. Amer. Single Fam. Demo 20.8 12
502 Single Family Guar. 24,000 30,000 30,000 30,000
504 VLI Repair Loans 28 18.3 28 50 28
504 VLI Repair Grants 30 32 45 (a)
515 Rental Hsg. Direct Lns. 40 50 200 150
514 Farm Labor Hsg. Lns. 28 28 50 30
516 Farm Labor Hsg. Grts. 10 10 18 16
521 Rental Assistance 1,410 100 1,450 1,564 1,494
523 Self-Help TA 31 32 40 33
533 Hsg. Prsrv. Grants 15 16 30  (a)
538 Rental Hsg. Guar. 230 250 400 300
Rental Prsrv. Demo. (MPR) 28 34 75 40
542 Rural Hsg. Vouchers 40 45 38 38
Rental Prsrv. TA 2 2 0 2
Rural Cmnty. Dev’t Init. 6 6 12 8
Community Facil. Loans 2,800 2,800 2,800 2,800
Community Facil. Grants 32 40 52 195(b)
      Tribal Colleges CF Grts 5 10 10 10
Community Facil. Guarantees 500 650 500 650

(a) The House bill provides a total of $48 million for Section 504 grants and Section 533 grants; it is not clear how this amount would be divided between the two programs. HAC expected that information to be available in the committee report on the bill, but it is not.

(b) The House bill’s CF grants total would include a number of earmarks, which are listed in the committee report.

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Budget Requests Increases in Most Rural Housing Programs

The Biden Administration’s budget for fiscal year 2023 proposes funding increases for almost every U.S. Department of Agriculture rural housing program, along with some important program changes for preservation of aging rental housing.

The March 28, 2022 budget release is only the first step in the process of developing federal appropriations for the fiscal year that begins on October 1, 2022. HAC held a webinar to review the budget’s contents and what to expect over the coming months; view the slides and recording here.

Rental Housing

The USDA budget proposes to quadruple Section 515 rental housing from $50 million in FY22 to $200 million in FY23, with the funds to be used for preserving existing Section 515 properties. The Multifamily Preservation and Revitalization program, which finances efforts to upgrade and maintain aging units constructed with Section 515 financing or the Section 514/516 farmworker housing program, would jump from $34 million this year to $75 million in FY23.

Farmworker housing loans and grants would almost double, with $6 million in Section 521 Rental Assistance set aside for new Section 514/516 units. The Section 538 loan guarantee program would see a large increase as well. (Details are provided in the table below.)

The $1.564 billion requested for Section 521 Rental Assistance renewals “will enable 272,000 existing contracts to be renewed, including making permanent the approximately 27,000 units that were brought into the program by the American Rescue Plan Act supplemental funding,” according to USDA’s budget explanation. The same document states, however, that RA assisted 284,194 tenant households in FY21.

The budget also asks Congress to “decouple” Rental Assistance from Section 515. Currently the programs are linked: RA cannot be made available to a property unless it has a USDA Section 515 or 514 loan. Separating them, so that RA could be offered after a property pays off its USDA mortgage, would help keep properties affordable for their tenants.

To protect tenants whose properties leave the USDA portfolio without decoupling, the administration proposes to provide $20 million in HUD Tenant Protection Vouchers. Based on the assumption that decoupling and the availability of HUD vouchers will eliminate the need for new USDA vouchers, the budget requests only enough Section 542 funding to renew existing assistance.

Homeownership

The budget proposes to increase funding for all USDA’s homeownership programs. It would also provide $20.8 million to expand the Native American Section 502 Relending pilot program. The pilot has enabled Native Community Development Financial Institutions to assist Native American homebuyers in tribal communities of South Dakota and North Dakota.

Rural Partnership Program

Pursuing an idea proposed in the Build Back Better Act, which has not been passed by Congress, the budget proposes $39 million for the Rural Partnership Program. In a statement about the budget, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack described it as “a renewed and expanded initiative to leverage USDA’s extensive network of county-based offices to help people in high poverty counties, including energy communities.”

Placemaking

The budget would provide $3 million for the Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge “to provide planning support, technical assistance, and training to foster placemaking activities in rural communities.” [NOTE: This sentence was corrected on March 29 to say $3 million. When this post was published, it stated incorrectly that the amount was $3 billion.]

Energy Efficiency and Climate Resilience

All USDA housing production would be required to “improve energy or water efficiency, indoor air quality, or sustainability improvements, implement low-emission technologies, materials, or processes, including zero-emission electricity generation, energy storage, building electrification, or electric car charging station installations; or address climate resilience of multifamily properties.”

 

HAC News: June 9, 2022

TOP STORIES

House committee to begin FY23 funding process.

The House Appropriations Committee has announced its schedule for considering funding bills covering the fiscal year that begins October 1. USDA appropriations will be marked up in subcommittee on June 15 and by the full committee on June 23. HUD’s mark-ups will be June 23 for the subcommittee and June 30 for the full committee.

Senators request input on USDA rural housing programs.

Senators Tina Smith (D-MN) and Mike Rounds (R-SD), Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate subcommittee with jurisdiction over housing programs, are asking for stakeholders’ input on USDA Rural Housing Service programs. Comments can be emailed to rural_housing@smith.senate.gov by July 8.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac issue plans for equitable housing finance.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have developed Equitable Housing Finance Plans for 2022-2024, intended to help address the racial and ethnic disparities in homeownership and wealth. The plans’ activities include consumer education initiatives for renters and homeowners, credit reporting to help tenants build credit profiles, counseling services, technology use, and special purpose credit programs. The Federal Housing Finance Agency will also require Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to maintain online lists of pilots and test-and-learn activities.

Administration supports building codes to improve climate resilience.

A National Initiative to Advance Building Codes aims to encourage states and territories, local governments, and tribes to adopt building codes requiring structures to resist extreme weather, and federal agencies will require federally funded housing and other buildings to meet high standards even in places without such codes. The Administration’s announcement notes the advantages of cost savings over time as well as the need to control upfront costs.

June is National Homeownership Month.

President Biden issued a proclamation and HUD’s press release notes that this is the 20th annual Homeownership Month. USDA Rural Development will honor the occasion by highlighting stories from rural, tribal, and underserved communities.

June is Pride Month.

President Biden declared June to be Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex (LGBTQI+) Pride Month. HAC celebrates the diversity that makes every community unique.

RuralSTAT

Of the $1.1 billion Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac invested in Low Income Housing Tax Credit equity in 2021, $287 million (26%) went to areas defined as rural under the Duty to Serve regulations. Source: Federal Housing Finance Agency, 2021 Mission Report: Affordable Housing Activities of the Regulated Entities.

OPPORTUNITIES

Website offers training information for Section 502 direct loan packagers.

Completion of a USDA-approved training is one prerequisite for those seeking certification as packagers to help rural Americans apply for Section 502 direct mortgage loans. The new USDA 502 Direct Training website provides one-stop access to information on packaging, the certification course, and more, from all three intermediaries that offer training – HAC, NeighborWorks America, and Rural Community Assistance Corporation. For more information, email 502Training@ruralhome.org.

Help offered for localities to access infrastructure funding.

The Local Infrastructure Hub, created by the National League of Cities, Results for America, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors with help from other national nonprofits and funders, aims to ensure that local governments can access federal infrastructure funding to improve their communities. The effort, which will launch on July 1, intends to help cities and towns of all sizes and from all regions of the country.

REGULATIONS AND FEDERAL AGENCIES

HUD requests comments on “Buy America Preference.”

The 2021 infrastructure act requires that before HUD provides funds for infrastructure projects it must take steps to ensure that all the iron, steel, manufactured products, and construction materials used are produced in the United States. HUD seeks input on topics such as what HUD-financed projects might fall under exemptions from the preference, how materials are currently sourced, and more. It also asks what HUD programs might be considered to fund infrastructure in addition to those on a previously published list that includes HOME, CDBG, and SHOP. Comments are due July 1. For more information, contact Joseph Carlile, HUD, 202-402-7082.

Final energy conservation standards set for manufactured housing.

The Department of Energy has established energy conservation standards for manufactured housing, “tiered” based on size, except that the building thermal envelope requirements for single-section manufactured homes are less stringent than those for multi-section homes. Compliance with these standards is required by May 31, 2023.  For more information, contact John Cymbalsky, DOE, 202-287-1692.

HUD expands tools to find housing counseling.

HUD has revised its online search and toll-free telephone line (1-800-569-4287) to help people find HUD-approved housing counseling agencies. HUD’s announcement explains that the online locator is available in English and Spanish and includes improved navigation, smart-phone capability, and integration with map technology, as well as contacts to national intermediaries where there are no local agencies. The phone service allows users to speak to customer service representatives and to request assistance from translators in more than 200 languages.

Treasury explains reallocation of Emergency Rental Assistance for tribes.

An addendum to earlier guidance describes how the Treasury Department will reallocate funds from the first round of the Emergency Rental Assistance program to tribal governments.

Indian Country questions in CRA proposal highlighted.

Native American-focused provisions in the recent Community Reinvestment Act proposed rule are described in CRA Modernization and Indian Country: Banking Agencies Seek Feedback on New Rulemaking Proposal, an article from the Center for Indian Country Development at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. The post points out that the proposal asks for comment on a new definition of Native Land Areas and on bank activities’ benefits to Natives. Comments on the proposal – which also covers many other topics – are due August 5.

Flood insurance Q&As revised.

The Interagency Questions and Answers Regarding Flood Insurance issued by a group of federal agencies are intended to help lenders meet their responsibilities under federal flood insurance law and to increase public understanding of the agencies’ regulations. For more information, contact Rhonda L. Daniels, OCC, 202-649-5405.

FHFA reports on affordable housing.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency’s 2021 Mission Report: Affordable Housing Activities of the Regulated Entities describes the activities of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks to provide greater access to financing for targeted economic development and affordable, sustainable, and equitable housing.

PUBLICATIONS AND MEDIA

Homeownership builds wealth but does not narrow the racial wealth gap.

Three Reasons Why Expanding Access to Homeownership Alone Won’t Close the Racial Wealth Gap, an Urban Institute post, summarizes research explaining why other policy approaches are needed. Black- and Latinx-led renter households do not benefit from policies targeted to homeowners; homeownership’s benefits are smaller and its costs and risks larger for people of color; and promoting homeownership contributes to negative climate effects, which disproportionately impact communities of color.

GAO recommends national broadband strategy.

A Government Accountability Office study identifies over 100 federal programs administered by 15 agencies that can be used to expand broadband access in rural places. Broadband: National Strategy Needed to Guide Federal Efforts to Reduce Digital Divide makes several recommendations to coordinate these efforts.

Drought’s impact in rural West draws attention.

Stories like CNN’s California Drought is Pushing Latino Farmers and Workers to Make Difficult Decisions and As California’s Big Cities Fail to Rein in Their Water Use, Rural Communities are Already Tapped Out describe climate change’s devastating impacts on rural economies. A report titled SGMA and Underrepresented Farmers says implementation of California’s groundwater management law does not adequately protect small and underserved farmers. A June 7 Senate subcommittee hearing addressed The Western Water Crisis: Confronting Persistent Drought and Building Resilience on Our Forests and Farmland. The federal Drought Resilience Interagency Working Group released a report on one year of Biden-Harris Administration actions, such as deployment of infrastructure funding.

Illustrated story explains Black farmers’ debt.

Illustrating the News: The Battle Over Debt Relief for Black Farmers, a graphic story published by the Daily Yonder, uses images to explain the need for the American Rescue Plan Act’s debt relief program for socially disadvantaged farmers and the lawsuits that have put the effort in limbo.

HAC

Rural veterans and local nonprofits receive critical housing support.

The Home Depot Foundation and HAC announced on June 8 that the Foundation is awarding grants totaling $375,107 to 13 local nonprofits around the country to repair the homes of 65 rural veterans and their families. As part of its Affordable Housing for Rural Veterans Initiative, HAC works with the Foundation to administer these grants that bolster and support the work of rural nonprofit housing agencies to deliver critical housing support to veterans.

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HAC seeks Housing Specialist – Native American Communities, Impact Specialist, and Community Placemaking Manager.

  • The Housing Specialist – Native American Communities is responsible for providing direct technical assistance, coaching, and training to tribal communities, tribal housing departments, tribal housing authorities, and nonprofit organizations serving tribal communities. Travel is required. This position is eligible for telecommuting.
  • The Impact Specialist collects and reports impact metrics across HAC’s lines of business, assists in the preparation and review of investor and donor reports for HAC’s various sources of funding, and assists in the development and tracking of HAC’s new strategic plan. This position is eligible for telecommuting.
  • The Community Placemaking Manager helps rural residents use their unique artistic and cultural resources to guide local development and shape the future design of their communities. The manager will cultivate the capacity of partner organizations and local communities, facilitate peer-to-peer learning engagements, manage day-to-day program functions and activities, communicate program success, and prepare funding applications. Travel is required. This position is eligible for telecommuting.

Need capital for your affordable housing project?

HAC’s loan fund provides low interest rate loans to support single- and multifamily affordable housing projects for low-income rural residents throughout the U.S. and territories. Capital is available for all types of affordable and mixed-income housing projects, including preservation, new development, farmworker, senior and veteran housing. HAC loan funds can be used for pre-development, site acquisition, site development, construction/rehabilitation and permanent financing. Contact HAC’s loan fund staff at hacloanfund@ruralhome.org, 202-842-8600.

Please note: HAC is not able to offer loans to individuals or families. Borrowers must be nonprofit or for-profit organizations or government entities (including tribes).

HAC in the News

Rural Veterans and Local Nonprofits Receive Critical Housing Support

Contact: Dan Stern, dan@ruralhome.org
AHRV Team, ahrv@ruralhome.org
(202) 842-8600

Rural Veterans and Local Nonprofits Receive Critical Housing Support

Funded by The Home Depot Foundation

Washington, DC, June 7, 2022 – Veterans and their families in thirteen rural communities will have better lives, thanks to The Home Depot Foundation and the Housing Assistance Council. The Foundation is awarding grants totaling $375,107 to thirteen local nonprofit housing agencies around the country to preserve housing for veterans in rural America.

The grants are part of The Home Depot Foundation’s mission to improve the homes and lives of U.S. veterans and invest $500 million in veteran causes by 2025. Many veterans and their families face major housing challenges, often exacerbated by issues related to unemployment, age, and service-related disabilities. The Home Depot Foundation and the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) are dedicated to giving back to those who have answered the highest call of service to our nation.

As part of its Affordable Housing for Rural Veterans (AHRV) Initiative, HAC works with The Home Depot Foundation to administer grants that bolster and support the work of rural nonprofit housing agencies to deliver critical housing support to veterans. “HAC’s partnership with The Home Depot Foundation continues to be a vital factor in our ability to strengthen the capacity of local rural organizations in their efforts to build and preserve homes of veterans across rural America,” said David Lipsetz, HAC’s CEO. “Growing nonprofit capacity empowers communities and serves as an impact multiplier, enabling nonprofits to expand their services and assist more veterans with overcoming housing challenges.”  As rural America is home to a disproportionately high number of service women and men, HAC remains deeply committed to supporting our nation’s service women and men by uplifting local nonprofits and their work to house and ensure the safe habitability of their homes and rural communities.

The grantee organizations – described below – provide a range of programs. With the grants, veterans who own homes in Arkansas, Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, New York, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin, and West Virginia will obtain critical repair assistance. Altogether, 65 veterans and their families will benefit from these grants.

About The Home Depot Foundation 

The Home Depot Foundationworks to improve the homes and lives of U.S. veterans, support communities impacted by natural disasters and train skilled tradespeople to fill the labor gap. Since 2011, the Foundation has invested more than $400 million in veteran causes and improved more than 50,000 veteran homes and facilities. The Foundation has pledged to invest half of a billion dollars in veteran causes by 2025 and $50 million in training the next generation of skilled tradespeople through the Path to Pro program.

To learn more about The Home Depot Foundation visit HomeDepotFoundation.organd follow us on Twitter @HomeDepotFound and on Facebook and Instagram @HomeDepotFoundation.

About the Housing Assistance Council

The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) is a national nonprofit that supports affordable housing efforts throughout rural America. Since 1971, HAC has provided below-market financing for affordable housing and community development, technical assistance and training, research and information, and policy formulation to enable solutions for rural communities.

About the Grantees

  • Adults and Youth United Development Association, Inc., San Elizario, TX, will utilize $30,000 to provide needed critical repairs for ten (10) veterans in the Border Colonia area of the state of Texas. For additional information on Adults and Youth United Development, Inc., visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ayudaorg/.
  • Bethlehem Farms, Inc., Alderson, WV, will utilize $30,000 to support rehabilitation and modification of eight (8) veteran homes, prioritizing critical repairs to remove unsafe living conditions. For additional information on Bethlehem Farms, Inc., visit their website at https://bethlehemfarm.net.
  • Eureka Christian Health Outreach, Eureka Springs, AR, will utilize $28,350 to support the development of one (1) “small home” which will become part of the Echo Village community, which serves veteran residents with temporary housing together with access to critical counseling, medical, skills training, social services, and “best life possible” supportive services. For additional information on Eureka Christian Health Outreach, visit their website at www.echofreeclinic.org.
  • Good Works, Inc., Coatesville, PA, will utilize $14,891 to provide critical health and safety repairs to one (1) home of an elderly veteran. For additional information on Good Works, Inc., visit their website at https://www.goodworksinc.org.
  • GROW South Dakota, Sisseton, SD, will utilize $30,000 to provide critical home repairs for six (6) veterans. For additional information on GROW South Dakota, visit their website at https://www.growsd.org.
  • Habitat for Humanity Wisconsin River Area, Baraboo, WI, will utilize $30,000 to support critical repairs and accessibility modifications for five (5) rural low-income disabled veterans. For additional information on Habitat for Humanity Wisconsin River Area, visit their website at https://hfhwisconsinriver.org.
  • Hope for All, Mountain Home, AR, will utilize $31,866 to support the renovation and structural repairs to a seventy (70) year old home, used as a homeless shelter to assist four (4) rural veterans. For additional information on Hope for All, visit their website at https://www.hopeforallmh.org.
  • Mississippi Center for Police & Sheriffs, Raymond, MS, will utilize $30,000 to assist in the construction of one (1) veteran cottage, which will become part of a fifteen (15) unit “Warrior Cottages” housing complex meeting the need for emergency and transitional housing for veterans. For additional information on the Mississippi Center for Police & Sheriffs, visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=MS%20Center%20for%20Police%20and%20Sheriffs
  • Rebuilding Together Fargo-Moorhead Area, Fargo, ND, will utilize $30,000 to support the rehabilitation and ADA modification of three (3) veteran owned units. For additional information on Rebuilding Together Fargo-Moorhead Area, visit their website at https://www.rebuildingtogetherfma.org.
  • Rebuilding Together Saratoga County, Ballston Spa, NY, will utilize $30,000 to support the rehabilitation and modification of four (4) veteran owned units. For additional information on Rebuilding Together Saratoga County, visit their website at https://www.rtsaratoga.org.
  • Red Feather Development Group, Flagstaff, AZ, will utilize $30,000 to assist six (6) Native American veteran homeowners with critical roof replacements and ADA modifications. For additional information on Red Feather Development Group, visit their website at www.redfeather.org.
  • Southern Appalachian Labor School, Kincaid, WV, will utilize $30,000 to construct ADA accessible ramps and address critical adaptation or safety issues for twelve (12) veterans. For additional information on Southern Appalachian Labor School, visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Southern-Appalachian-Labor-School-284621148272166/.
  • Tangi Community Development, Amite, LA, will utilize $30,000 to support rehabilitation and ADA modifications on four (4) disabled veteran homes. For additional information on Tangi Community Development, visit their website at https://www.tangicdcnonprofit.org.
HAC in the News

Congressional Hearing Focuses on the Potential of Manufactured Housing

HAC’s Director of Research, Lance George, was one of several witnesses to provide testimony at a hearing of the House Transportation-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee on  Manufactured Housing: Supporting America’s Largest Unsubsidized Affordable Housing Stock. North Carolina news station WRAL covered the hearing and provided local perspective on the potential for manufactured housing to increase housing affordability in the region.

HAC News: May 26, 2022

TOP STORIES

White House releases housing supply plan.

Citing burdensome housing costs and a shortfall of available units, on May 16 the Biden-Harris Administration released a Housing Supply Action Plan that includes administrative and legislative proposals to improve existing housing finance mechanisms. It also calls on Congress to establish a Housing Supply Fund and incentivize zoning reform to accelerate the building of more housing nationwide. HAC’s statement on the plan applauds the administration for designing and including several provisions specifically with rural markets in mind.

Rural homelessness bill passes House committee.

The House Committee on Financial Services approved several bills on May 18 including the Flexibility in Addressing Rural Homelessness Act, H.R. 7196. The bill, introduced by Reps. Cindy Axne (D-IA) and Frank Lucas (R-OK), would give rural Continuums of Care more flexibility in using their funding, allowing them to pay for short-term emergency lodging, including in motels or hotels; repairs to make existing housing habitable; and capacity building.

Senate subcommittee hears Torres Small on rural housing.

On May 25, USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development Xochitl Torres Small appeared at a hearing titled Examining the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing Service, held by the Senate Banking Committee’s Housing Subcommittee. Her testimony focused on the importance of the funds and actions proposed in the administration’s budget request, including the Rural Partnership Program and support for rental preservation efforts. USDA will need $10 billion in the MPR preservation program by 2033 to preserve 137,000 units, she said; without “robust funding,” USDA will lose 333,780 of its approximately 400,000 rental units by 2050. Questions from Senators attending the hearing recognized the need for these units, the positive potential of the Section 502 Single Family Housing Direct Loan Relending Program for Native Americans, and opportunities to improve agency processes, staffing, and technology.

Vilsack appears before Senate committee.

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack was the only witness at a May 26 Senate Agriculture Committee hearing on Opportunities and Challenges Facing Farmers, Families, and Rural Communities, which focused primarily on agriculture topics. Responding to Senators’ questions, Vilsack expressed a commitment to equity for Black and underserved stakeholders, support for immigration reform including the H-2A visa program, and intentions to hire additional Rural Development field staff if Congress appropriates the necessary funding.

Manufactured housing hearing set for May 26.

The House Transportation-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee is holding a hearing May 26 on Manufactured Housing: Supporting America’s Largest Unsubsidized Affordable Housing Stock, with HAC’s Director of Research and information, Lance George, among the witnesses. His testimony explains the importance of manufactured homes as affordable housing in rural America and the challenges facing manufactured housing residents, owners, and communities. It suggests that new research is needed to inform evidence-based solutions and that Congress could help address pressing challenges by providing grants for land acquisition by resident owned cooperatives, other mission-focused nonprofits, and public sector housing agencies, as well as financing for individual homeowners.

RuralSTAT

More than half of all manufactured homes are located in rural areas around the country and manufactured homes make up 14% of all occupied homes in rural and small-town communities. Source: Housing Assistance Council tabulations of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2016-2020 American Community Survey.

OPPORTUNITIES

Housing Preservation Grants available.

USDA will make Section 533 Housing Preservation Grants to nonprofits, state and local governments, and tribes for repair or rehabilitation of rental or owner-occupied housing for low- and very low-income rural residents. Preapplications are due July 11. For more information, contact a USDA Rural Development State Office.

HUD offers service coordinator funds.

Nonprofits, PHAs, tribes, Tribally Designated Housing Entities, and resident associations can apply by July 18 for Resident Opportunity and Self-Sufficiency Service Coordinator grants to hire staff who assess the needs of public and Indian housing residents and link them to training and supportive services. For more information, contact HUD’s ROSS Program Office, 202-402-3624, ROSS-PIH@HUD.gov.

Owners of USDA-funded properties invited to host summer meals.

Rental housing and Community Facilities sites funded by USDA Rural Development can host the Summer Food Service Program operated by the Food and Nutrition Service for low-income children and teens. Local sponsoring organizations prepare the meals and deliver them. For more information, contact USDA Summer Food Service Program staff.

REGULATIONS AND FEDERAL AGENCIES

Census reports on accuracy of state-level data.

The Census Bureau’s Post-Enumeration Survey, one of the tools used to evaluate the accuracy of the 2020 Census, estimated there were no statistically significant undercounts or overcounts of population in 36 states and D.C., undercounts in six states, and overcounts in eight. Reliable estimates are not available for demographic characteristics or geographic areas within states. In March, Census reported estimated national undercounts for renters and Black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, some other race, and Hispanic or Latino populations, as well as children under age 5 and working age men. The remainder of the PES estimates, including results for housing units, and undercount and overcount rates for Puerto Rico, are expected to be released this summer.

Family Self-Sufficiency program changes implemented.

HUD has published a final rule putting 2018 legislative changes into effect for the Family Self-Sufficiency program. Revisions include expanding the definition of eligible families to include tenants of privately owned multifamily properties with Project-Based Rental Assistance. PHAs and property owners must comply with this rule by November 14. For more information related to public and Indian housing, email questions to FSS@hud.gov; related to privately owned properties, email MF_FSS@hud.gov.

Thompson confirmed as FHFA director.

On May 25, the Senate confirmed Sandra L. Thompson to serve a five-year term as director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. She has been the agency’s acting director since June 2021.

Placemaking toolkit offered.

USDA and the University of Kentucky’s Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky have created a digital Rural America Placemaking Toolkit intended to help rural leaders build placemaking plans. It covers conducting assessments, provides examples of placemaking projects, and includes information about technical assistance providers, funders, and resources.

Guidance covers design/build and construction management for USDA Community Facilities.

Replacing earlier guidance that has expired, USDA explains the process of obtaining agency approval for use of design/build or construction management services for Community Facilities projects. While USDA allows for the contracting of such all-in-one services, when the contract exceeds $250,000 prior approval must be obtained from the National Office. For more information, contact a USDA Rural Development State Office.

USDA tenant data shows emergency aid dramatically reduced cost burden.

USDA’s annual report on the characteristics of tenants in Section 515 and 514 properties shows that in October 2021 there were 108 fewer Section 515 properties and 25 fewer farm labor housing properties than in 2020, a total reduction of 1,709 units. The average household income rose by 3.78% to $14,665. Tenant households receiving Section 521 Rental Assistance saw a 7.13% increase in income to $12,501. The number of resident households paying more than 30 percent of their income for rent fell sharply from 41,121 in 2020 to 3,227 in 2021. USDA attributed this 92% decrease to the emergency rental assistance funds made available because of the coronavirus pandemic.

PUBLICATIONS AND MEDIA

Wildfire risk calculated across the U.S.

First Street Foundation has developed a model to estimate the risk of wildfire on a property-by-property basis across the U.S. now and up to 30 years in the future. Reports by the New York Times and Washington Post use First Street’s data to create interactive maps and graphics. First Street’s online Risk Factor tool also includes information about flood risk.

Local nonprofit capacity impacted distribution of pandemic rent aid.

An Uneven Housing Safety Net: Disparities in the Disbursement of Emergency Rental Assistance and the Role of Local Institutional Capacity, published by the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at the University of California at Berkeley, explores county-level take-up of federal Emergency Rental Assistance funding along with data about local governmental and nonprofit capacity, preexisting economic hardship, and pandemic-related impacts on employment. Researchers found that, while ERA is reaching many eligible households, counties that had higher levels of economic distress before the pandemic and where local nonprofit networks are less resourced also had relatively lower ERA take-up rates. Many of these counties are outside metropolitan areas.

Rural data helps address persistent poverty.

Filling the Data Gap in Rural America, written by Partners for Rural Transformation and published by Forbes, highlights how HAC works to increase access to data about rural America to better address rural housing challenges and persistent poverty.

Study describes rural Missouri renters’ concerns.

The State of Missouri Tenants: Listening to Tenants in America’s Heartland and a related podcast report on interviews with rural renters around the state conducted by KCTenants in 2021. While physical housing conditions and costs were the problems mentioned most often statewide, researchers found differences based on type of housing. In privately owned apartment complexes and manufactured home parks, affordability was the biggest tenant concern. In public housing (where rents are limited based on income), housing conditions were the major problem. Tenants who were Black or other people of color reported a higher incidence of problems than those who were white.

Iowa county’s growth plan: increase Latino population.

A Rural County in Iowa That Supported Trump Turns to Latinos to Grow, a Washington Post story, describes efforts in rural Greene County, Iowa to address chronic population decline by recruiting Latino residents. The county has jobs available, is trying to address a shortage of housing, and plans to educate residents about their new neighbors.

Guide covers partnerships for rural healthcare.

A Playbook for New Rural Healthcare Partnership Models of Investments, released by the Build Healthy Places Network, is intended to assist healthcare organizations that want to pursue partnerships with local community and economic development and other sectors in rural areas to create the community conditions that support improved community health.

Preparing for weather emergencies saves lives.

10 Tips for Rural Dwellers to Prepare for Emergencies, an article from Next Avenue, provides advice for rural residents to get ready for natural disasters. In addition to stocking up on supplies, food, and equipment, the author recommends creating a communication plan for your family and networking with your community.

HAC

HAC seeks Housing Specialist and Community Placemaking Manager.

  • The Housing Specialist is based primarily in either the Southwest or Western states (within two hours of a major airport) and works with local partner organizations to identify financial resources and funding opportunities to support the preservation and development of affordable housing and community and economic development strategies specifically throughout expanses of Southwest and/or Western rural America. This position is remote location eligible.
  • The Community Placemaking Manager helps rural residents use their unique artistic and cultural resources to guide local development and shape the future design of their communities. The manager will cultivate the capacity of partner organizations and local communities, facilitate peer-to-peer learning engagements, manage day-to-day program functions and activities, communicate program success, and prepare funding applications. Travel is required. This position is telecommuting eligible.

Need capital for your affordable housing project?

HAC’s loan fund provides low interest rate loans to support single- and multifamily affordable housing projects for low-income rural residents throughout the U.S. and territories. Capital is available for all types of affordable and mixed-income housing projects, including preservation, new development, farmworker, senior and veteran housing. HAC loan funds can be used for pre-development, site acquisition, site development, construction/rehabilitation and permanent financing. Contact HAC’s loan fund staff at hacloanfund@ruralhome.org, 202-842-8600.

Please note: HAC is not able to offer loans to individuals or families. Borrowers must be nonprofit or for-profit organizations or government entities (including tribes).

USDA Rural Development State Directors Named

This table identifies State Directors for U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development offices named by the Biden Administration as of May 25, 2022. These positions do not require Senate confirmation.

HAC will keep this list up to date as we learn of new appointments. Please send additions or corrections to HAC staff.

 

STATE STATE DIRECTOR
Alabama (AL) Nivory Gordon, Jr.
Alaska (AK) Julia Hnilicka
Arizona (AZ) Charlene Fernandez
Arkansas (AR) Jill Floyd
California (CA) Maria Gallegos Herrera
Colorado (CO) Armando Valdez
Connecticut (CT) Scott Soares
Delaware (DE) David Baker
Florida (FL) and Virgin Islands (VI) Lakeisha Hood
Georgia (GA) Reggie Taylor
Hawaii (HI) and Western Pacific Chris Kanazawa
Idaho (ID) Rudy Soto
Illinois (IL) Betsy Dirksen Londrigan
Indiana (IN) Terry Goodin
Iowa (IA) Theresa Greenfield
Kansas (KS)
Kentucky (KY) Thomas Carew
Louisiana (LA) Deidre Deculus Robert
Maine (ME) Rhiannon Hampson
Maryland (MD) David Baker
Massachusetts (MA) Scott Soares
Michigan (MI) Brandon Fewins
Minnesota (MN) Colleen Landkamer
Mississippi (MS) Trina George
Missouri (MO) Kyle Wilkens
Montana (MT) Kathleen Williams
Nebraska (NE) Kate Bolz
Nevada (NV) Lucas Ingvoldstad
New Hampshire (NH) Sarah Waring
New Jersey (NJ) Jane Asselta
New Mexico (NM) Patricia Dominguez
New York (NY) Brian Sheldon Murray
North Carolina (NC) Reginald Speight
North Dakota (ND) Erin Oban
Ohio (OH) Jonathan McCracken
Oklahoma (OK) Kenneth Corn
Oregon (OR) Margaret Hoffmann
Pennsylvania (PA) Bob Morgan
Puerto Rico (PR)
Rhode Island (RI) Scott Soares
South Carolina (SC) Saundra Glover
South Dakota (SD) Nikki Gronli
Tennessee (TN) Arlisa Armstrong
Texas (TX)
Utah (UT) Michele Weaver
Vermont (VT) Sarah Waring
Virgin Islands (VI) Lakeisha Hood
Virginia (VA) Perry Hickman
Washington (WA) Helen Price Johnson
West Virginia (WV) Ryan Thorn
Wisconsin (WI) Julie Lassa
Wyoming (WY) Glenn Pauley