Request for Applications – OneRural Capacity Building Program

The Housing Assistance Council is soliciting nonprofit organizations, units of local government, and tribal entities interested in participating in its OneRural Capacity Building Program scheduled to begin in early 2024.

Participants selected to participate in HAC’s OneRural Capacity Building Program will receive individualized technical assistance, access to training and informational resources, and reimbursable scholarships to participate in HAC sponsored training.

Eligible entities must:

  • Have their office located in a rural community whose:
    • Population is less than 10,000 per the 2010 Census, and
    • Area Median Income (AMI) is at or below 70% of (AMI).
  • Have at least one (1) staff person.
  • Demonstrate their interest in increasing organizational capacity in the Initial Application.
  • Be a recognized nonprofit organization, public body, or tribal entity that has one (1) of the following:
    • Nonprofit designation from either the IRS or a tribal government, or
    • Evidence of being a public body, or
    • Federally recognized Tribal status.
  • Be in good standing with their State’s Secretary of State (for nonprofit organizations).

Preference will be given to Federally designated disaster communities and entities that serve communities determined to be:

  • Socially vulnerable,
  • Economically at-risk, or
  • Distressed energy (fossil fuel dependent) communities.

Interested entities must:

  • Step 1 – Complete the Initial Application by Friday, May 26, 2023. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, so please do not delay completing the Initial Application.
  • Step 2 – Organizations with a demonstrated need for technical assistance and that meet the eligibility requirements outlined above will be contacted to submit proof of eligibility, required documentation, and additional organizational information by June 7, 2023.

These deadlines are firm and cannot be extended.

Please note that selection in this round of the OneRural Capacity Building Program is based on eligibility and demonstrated need. Participation cannot be guaranteed.



Request for Applications Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design (CIRD) – 2023

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Housing Assistance Council (HAC), with To Be Done Studio, are excited to announce the Request for Applications to the Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design (CIRD). Rural communities are invited to submit applications to receive design support and technical assistance to host an on-site Local Design Workshop or participate in the Design Learning Cohort.

About CIRD

The Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design (CIRD) is a leadership initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Housing Assistance Council. Focusing on communities with populations of 50,000 or less, CIRD’s goal is to enhance the quality of life and economic vitality of rural America through planning, design, and creative placemaking.

The CIRD program goals include:

  • Building design capacity in rural communities to plan comprehensive revitalization strategies;
  • Introducing creative placemaking, arts, culture, and design strategies as drivers of economic development in rural America;
  • Facilitating a network of rural communities for design idea exchanges and peer learning; and
  • Preparing communities to be ready and competitive for arts- and design-related state and federal funding opportunities.

Since 1991, CIRD has provided design assistance to more than 100 rural communities in all regions of the United States, empowering residents to leverage local and regional assets in order to guide the civic development and future design of their own communities.

More information about CIRD is available at https://www.rural-design.org/.

Important Dates

March 2, 2023: CIRD Request for Applications Opens
March 22, 2023: CIRD RFA Information Webinar
April 11, 2023: CIRD RFA Virtual Office Hours
May 1, 2023 CIRD Application Closes at 11:59 pm EST
June 21, 2023: CIRD Program Launch/Kickoff Meeting

Learn More

If you have any questions about the Request for Applications (RFA), CIRD programs, or other questions related to this application process, please contact us at cird@ruralhome.org.

HAC in the News

HAC Launches USDA-backed Placemaking Program

Contact: Hillary Presecan, hillary@ruralhome.org
(340) 227-1978

10 communities selected for cohort

Washington, DC, February 10, 2023 –The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) announced the ten communities selected for our Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge (RPIC) cohort. RPIC is a USDA program that funds planning support, technical assistance, and training to encourage placemaking activities in rural communities. The ten communities selected to be part of HAC’s cohort will receive 15 months of capacity building support, connection to a peer cohort, and seed grant funding. In May 2023, the cohort will gather in Newbern, Alabama, for hands-on rural placemaking training hosted by Rural Studio® an off-campus design-build program of Auburn University’s School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture. Rural Studio® is a national leader in creating rural affordable housing along with the vital systems that create strong rural communities.

“Placemaking is a thread that binds so many local efforts to improve rural communities, from affordable housing to broadband to arts and culture,” said Shonterria Charleston, HAC’s Director of Training and Technical Assistance. “Through RPIC, we will assess local needs, create a relevant curriculum, and provide coaching and capacity building as each community takes on a local placemaking challenge.” Charleston noted that building on local assets, even in distressed communities, is a hallmark of placemaking.

A summary of the cohort and highlights from each selected community are below.


HAC’s Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge (RPIC) cohort is a USDA funded initiative that supports 10 rural and tribal economically distressed communities largely in the southern United States by boosting placemaking capacity and connecting selected communities with peer support, public and private resources, and access to rural placemaking experts while engaging with local broadband providers on improving internet access in their community.

HAC’s RPIC strategy is framed by our 50 years of working in rural America’s poorest communities and rural design and placemaking leadership.

HAC’s RPIC cohort will engage with a curriculum that emphasizes placemaking as a tool for economic development and community cohesion. Community-identified needs will inform the curriculum. In May 2023, the cohort will gather in Newbern, AL, to learn alongside Auburn Rural Studio faculty, students, and partner organizations.

After the gathering at Rural Studio, RPIC communities will continue planning and carrying out their local placemaking challenges into 2024. As the RPIC cycle concludes, HAC case studies featuring RPIC Cohort communities will contribute to a burgeoning national dialogue surrounding rural placemaking and design. HAC will also connect RPIC communities with broadband expertise and resources tailored to local needs throughout the RPIC program.

Selected Communities & Placemaking Challenge

  • Covenant Faith Outreach Ministries | Covenant CD: Tupelo, MS

Covenant Faith Outreach Ministries is taking on housing supply—especially for seniors and broader community engagement strategies via its work with RPIC.

  • Helping One Another, Inc.: Sardis, MS 

Helping One Another, Inc. is working to implement the MiCASiTA model in the community. MiCASiTA gives homeowners design choices in modular homes along with a path to multi-generational wealth.  Helping One Another’s RPIC participation will bolster the organization’s capacity for strategic planning, identifying resources, and related design assistance, including a charrette.

  • Paxico and Beyond Community and Economic Development (TEX): Paxico, KS 

Via RPIC, Paxico and Beyond Community and Economic development seeks to coalesce community involvement toward addressing ongoing transportation, flooding/stormwater, and related issues identified in a recent assessment. RPIC will also work to increase the organization’s grant writing capacity.

  • Mountain T.O.P.: Altamont, TN 

Mountain T.O.P. seeks to boost its cross-sector capacity via RPIC—especially toward addressing single family and multi-family housing needs, including exploration of housing tax credit programs. 

  • Men and Women United for Youth & Families: Delco, NC 

Men and Women United for Youth & Families addresses a wide range of issues from food security to environmental justice and leadership. Via RPIC, the organization will bolster its placemaking capacity in rural portions of its service area.

  • United Communities Assistance Network (UCAN!): Supply, NC 

United Communities Assistance Network (UCAN!) will tap RPIC’s technical assistance and coaching for a strategic planning process. UCAN!’s longer term goals include a resource hub for healthy food access, economic development, and entrepreneurship.

  • City of Hinton: Hinton, WV 

Tourism and economic development are on the upswing in Hinton, WV as the region’s recreation economy, anchored by the New River Gorge National Park, continues to grow. RPIC will help Hinton’s city government navigate affordable housing, historic preservation, and other opportunities—especially the prioritization of community needs.

  • Philippi Grand Theater Project (Woodlands supported): Philippi, WV  

The Grand Theater building once anchored Phillipi’s downtown business district. But the building shuttered in the 1990s. RPIC will bolster ongoing restoration efforts as part of a broader economic development and placemaking strategy.

  • Seminole Arts Council, Inc.: Seminole, OK 

Seminole Arts Council is actively engaged in reuse and preservation efforts for historic buildings and public parks. The organization is also working toward “commUNITY” gathering space to promote local cohesion. RPIC will connect the Council’s work with resource development and placemaking best practices.

  • Prek-12 and Beyond: Tallulah, LA 

Pre-12 and Beyond is a grassroots organization that addresses Tallulah’s broad challenges tied to lumber mill closures—while building on underlying assets.  RPIC participation will connect Pre-12 and Beyond with regional and national best practices tied to quality of life, economic vitality, and broadband access.

HAC Seeks Proposals for its Affordable Housing for Rural Veterans (AHRV) Initiative

HAC’s Affordable Housing for Rural Veterans initiative supports local nonprofit housing development organizations that meet or help meet the affordable housing needs of veterans in rural places. Grants typically range up to $30,000 per organization and must support bricks-and-mortar projects that assist low-income, elderly and/or disabled veterans with home repair and rehab needs, support homeless veterans, help veterans become homeowners, and/or secure affordable rental housing.

HAC will be hosting a open forum to discuss this RFP. HAC recommends attending this session prior to submitting a formal application.

This initiative is funded through the generous support of The Home Depot Foundation.

Applications are due by 4:00PM (EST) on or before Monday, January 23, 2023.

Download the Application Package: Application (WORD) | Application Guidelines

For more information, contact HAC staff, ahrv@ruralhome.orgNo phone calls please.

Download Application (WORD) Application Guidelines Webinar Registration

Building on Two Decades of Partnership: HAC & the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority

In the summer of 2022, the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority (MFA) faced a difficult challenge. Several state legislators and farmworker groups asked the organization to help meet the housing needs of migrant and seasonal farmworkers. Since farms employ farmworkers with the shifting seasons, many farmworkers only stay in a community for a few months before needing to move elsewhere in search of work. Affordable housing development is complex in the best of cases. Underwriting a project that would have a near complete turnover of residents every four or five months seemed almost impossible.

So, MFA called the Housing Assistance Council (HAC). This wasn’t the first or second time that HAC helped MFA address challenges in its programs. In fact, HAC and MFA have a working relationship well over two decades old. Because of this extensive engagement, MFA Executive Director and CEO Izzy Hernandez knew he could rely on HAC Housing Consultant Eugene (Gene) Gonzalez to help find a solution to this challenge.

Gene connected MFA with groups across the southwest working on similar projects housing migrant farmworkers. With HAC’s help and advice from peers, MFA was able to identify a developer and line up alternate financing options for a project that meets this critical housing need. The development is in its initial phase, but for Hernandez, this is just the latest example of HAC’s reliable, ongoing partnership.

HAC began working with MFA in the early 2000s. A few years earlier, MFA was selected to administer all of New Mexico’s housing programs. Many of the on-the-ground housing organizations who needed MFA funding the most were struggling to obtain designation as community housing development organizations (CHDOs). CHDO designation is a prerequisite to accessing the federal and state programs MFA administered. So, HAC helped eight organizations identify their capacity needs, provided technical assistance to meet those needs, and guided them through the process to obtain CHDO designation.  As a result, each of the eight organizations was able to access MFA funds, which allowed MFA to turn those program dollars into homes in communities that desperately needed them.

While the specifics of HAC and MFA’s collaboration has evolved over time to meet the unique needs of each project, the core challenge HAC helps MFA address remains the same. Like all state housing authorities, MFA relies on the success of its client housing organizations. If they do not succeed, MFA cannot make the most of federal and state programs and cannot meet, as Hernandez puts it, “the extraordinary need for affordable housing.” HAC has long helped and continues to help build the capacity of MFA clients. This not only helps to build more affordable homes in rural New Mexico; according to Hernandez, HAC’s work helps MFA “reach communities we couldn’t reach before.”

When HAC began working with Tierra Del Sol Housing Corporation, one of MFA’s clients, the organization was rehabbing nearly 100 homes per year and building only about nine units per year. HAC provided training and technical assistance to help Tierra Del Sol with land acquisition, green building, energy efficiency, and more. With HAC’s help, the nonprofit expanded its self-help program, began building entire neighborhoods of farmworker housing, and grew to become the largest housing rehabber in the state of New Mexico. In addition, TDS accomplished all this development while focusing work in colonias, communities near the U.S.-Mexico border characterized by high poverty rates and substandard living conditions. Looking back on this incredible success, Hernandez is quick to say that “HAC has played a big role in that.”

Nowadays, MFA frequently refers struggling clients to HAC. Once referred, HAC often includes these organizations in our capacity building and technical assistance cohorts, where they receive one-on-one technical guidance and capacity building assistance. According to Hernandez, whenever HAC receives a new round of funding for technical assistance, he receives a call from Gene asking which groups in New Mexico need help. “We have some groups that were on the bubble of surviving or not,” says Hernandez, “but we have never had one group go out of business. HAC kept them in the game.”

The three hundred plus housing organizations in New Mexico all play an important role in meeting the state’s housing needs. In 2021, they collectively assisted more than 25,000 families in finding quality affordable housing. HAC capacity building assistance helps to ensure that these groups can build homes, effectively implement housing assistance programs, and remain in compliance.

Click here to learn more about HAC’s training and technical assistance. 

Request for Applications for the Creative Placemaking for Rural (CPR) Initiative

The Housing Assistance Council (HAC), under Cooperative Agreement with USDA Rural Development as part of its Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge Initiative (RPIC), is excited to announce the Request for Applications (RFA) to the HAC 2022 Creative Placemaking for Rural (CPR) Initiative. Rural communities are invited to submit applications to receive support and technical assistance to host a virtual and on-site local Placemaking Workshop (if local public health guidelines allow) or participate in the Placemaking Learning Cohort. Specifically, the CPR Initiative will focus on improving rural prosperity and building the capacity of rural organizations to create and implement innovative placemaking strategies into their larger community development planning goals and activities.

Application Deadline - August 19, 2022

Application Guidelines and Instructions (PDF)


Under USDA, Rural Development, Placemaking is defined as a collaborative process among public, private, philanthropic and community partners to strategically improve the social, cultural, and economic structure of a community. This work is based on a sense of place with qualitative and quantitative outcomes.

Objective: Improve rural prosperity and build the capacity of rural organizations and communities to create and implement innovative placemaking strategies into their larger community development planning goals and activities.


We recommend that applicants prepare their answers prior to starting the application process, as you do not have the ability to save your progress while submitting. Your responses can be copied and pasted into the application form. Please contact CRP@ruralhome.org if you have any questions about the application submission process

Apply Now

How HAC’s Training and Technical Assistance Supports Homebuyer Education

Homeownership isn’t just part of the American Dream—it is a pathway to decent, affordable housing and one of the best opportunities families have to build wealth. For over fifty years, the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) has empowered rural nonprofits to better meet the housing needs of their communities. From self-help housing to sustainable design, HAC’s training and technical assistance supports a variety of homeownership programs. Because June is National Homeownership Month, join us as we explore one way HAC supports rural homeownership: helping our nonprofit partners provide homebuyer education.  

For many families, navigating the homebuying process can be a challenge. Homebuyer education prepares buyers by helping them understand the homebuying process, building their financial skills like budgeting, and teaching how to maintain their new home. In addition, many first-time homebuyer programs (including most government-funded homeownership initiatives) require that prospective buyers complete homebuyer education to qualify for assistance.  

HAC’s one-on-one technical assistance supports organizations at every stage of providing homebuyer education. “Many of the groups I work with want to offer homebuyer education because nobody else in their community is doing it,” says HAC Housing Specialist Kelly Cooney. We assist organizations with deciding which homebuyer education courses to offer, navigating of the process of becoming a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-approved housing counseling agency, and even refining existing courses to better meet the needs of their clients. HAC’s Technical Assistance program also promotes peer-learning and resource-sharing by connecting our partner organizations with other like-missioned groups in their area and around the country.  

Unfortunately, many rural families travel long distances to reach the nearest class.  During the fall of 2020, HAC provided training to 14 local housing organizations, helping them convert their in-person homebuyer education courses to a virtual format. Over the course of three sessions, attendees learned best practices for online teaching, success stories from peers, and how to keep their clients engaged.  

As Elizabeth Mooney, a Housing Counselor at Community Action Commission of Fayette County, explains, “HAC has been so helpful in the transition of our homebuyer education classes during COVID. They scheduled calls to check in on the transition, offered solutions that other agencies were using, and connected me with even more resources. They even offered me a scholarship for some of the virtual trainings I attended.”  

You can request technical assistance and explore HAC’s calendar of training events. 

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 Training - Construction Oriented

Subdivision Development for Affordable Single-Family Housing Webinar Series

Subdivision development is a complex undertaking that requires both a vision of what is possible and an eye for detail throughout the entire process.

In this three-part webinar series about subdivision development in which participants:

  • learn the process from start to finish,
  • understand the roles development team and professionals involved,
  • evaluate the financial risks and rewards,
  • understand your role as owner and construction manager, and
  • determine if subdivision development is the right choice for your organization.

Session 1: An Overview

In the 90-minute introduction to subdivision development, we addressed the development timeline, site selection criteria, assembling your development team, designing lots that meet the needs of the community and residents, and the importance of a long-term marketing strategy.

Session 2:  From Project Inception Through Land Acquisition

During this 90-minute session, we walk through the steps required to develop a successful subdivision. Topics will include formulating your development plan, assembling the sources and uses budget, managing the development team, and reviewing a sample bid document.


Session 3:  From Land Acquisition to Completion

In the final 1-hour session, participants will learn how to evaluate, hire, and oversee the site development contractor, work with local governing bodies, understand liability and bonding and insurance requirements, start construction on finished lots, and, when appropriate, develop a homeowner’s association.