HAC is Hiring a Program Coordinator – Capacity Building Programs

The Program Coordinator plays an important role in the effective facilitation and management of various programs, predominantly funded through federal initiatives. This position ensures that project goals are aligned with organizational objectives, timelines, and budgets, while maintaining strict compliance with federal guidelines. The Program Coordinator will act as a key liaison between the funding agency and our organization, operating under the direction of the Program Manager.

The position is open to candidates located anywhere in the contiguous United States, within a two-hour drive of a major airport, enabling occasional travel as needed.

This position offers a unique opportunity for career development and advancement within the organization.

Read the position description and application instructions.

HAC is Hiring a Housing Specialist (Community Builder)

The Community Builder plays a crucial role in advancing HAC’s mission, engaging in a range of responsibilities and special projects that focus on place, people, and community-based strategies. With a primary emphasis on developing and sustaining the capacity to improve housing and communities in rural areas, the Community Builder provides direct technical assistance, coaching, and training to nonprofit organizations, local and regional government agencies, and others. This role is key in facilitating affordable housing and community and economic development opportunities through state and federal programs.

HAC is seeking to hire six (6) Community Builders, each bringing expertise in one or more of the following areas: Financial Management and Accountability, Real Estate Finance, Construction Management, Housing on Native American Lands, Community and Public Facilities, Homeless Prevention and Assistance, and Homeowner Rehabilitation.

This position is open to candidates located anywhere in the contiguous United States, within a two-hour drive of a major airport, enabling efficient travel as needed.

Read the position description and application instructions.

Empowering Veterans Through Collaborative Housing Initiatives: Insights from the 2023 National Rural Housing Conference

The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) is dedicated to supporting those who have answered the highest call of service to our nation. Our Affordable Housing for Rural Veterans (AHRV) Initiative aids local nonprofit housing organizations in improving housing conditions for veterans in their communities with support from The Home Depot Foundation. The brick-and-mortar projects that AHRV funds provide critical home repair, rehab, and construction for low-income, elderly, homeless, and/or disabled veterans. All this support is tailored to meet the specific needs of veterans in each community.

At HAC’s 2023 National Rural Housing Conference, the Veterans Stakeholder Meeting convened practitioners from around the country to share ideas and best practices. The centerpiece of the meeting was a series of presentations from a panel that included:

  • Karen Boyce, Managing Director of The Veterans’ Place, Inc. (TVPI), a transitional home for homeless veterans in Northfield, Vermont;
  • AB Bustos and Amber Morson, Homeless Veteran Program Managers at the Texas Veterans Commission (TVC), an organization that advocates for and provides services that will improve the lives of Texas veterans and their families; and
  • Miguel Chacon, Executive Director of A.Y.U.D.A. INC, an organization that provides assistance programs to low-income individuals and families in El Paso County, Texas, including affordable housing, rental assistance, and community health worker training.

Housing organizations from across the country benefited from hearing detailed presentations on housing efforts and gained insights on how organizations can work to better support veterans. Here are four key takeaways from the meeting:


  • 1. Incremental changes in language can make veterans more responsive to community partnerships.

    When asked “are you a veteran?” many former servicemembers, especially women and people who were discharged under other than honorable conditions, tend to answer “no.” Others may not consider themselves veterans because they never saw combat. The Homeless Veteran Program of the Texas Veterans Commission (TVC) found that a small change—asking “did you serve?”—has helped them identify more veterans who qualify for programs, some of which are open to all veterans, regardless of their type of discharge.

    This small change has generated such an increase in response that TVC has begun a statewide awareness campaign to encourage other local and nonprofit support programs to make the same phrasing change in an effort to identify more eligible veterans. Because TVC works with a wide range of supportive programs—education, employment, mental health, homelessness, and more—it emphasizes the connectedness of housing to the broader ecosystem of community support. A simple change in the language used to identify veterans can help housing organizations—and supportive programs of all stripes—across the country reach a wider net of people who need support after answering the highest call of service to our nation.

  • 2. Housing is part of a broader ecosystem of support.

    Organizations that open doors to collaboration can provide better support for the veterans they serve. In the Veterans Stakeholder Meeting, the team from the Veterans’ Place explained that they had noted an increase in the average age of veterans looking for housing. So, TVPI adapted their approach by reaching out to supportive housing organizations, like those providing assisted living, to find resources within their area for senior veterans.

    When organizations work with other groups and community programs, they often find partnerships they did not know were available to them. That’s why it’s important that the National Rural Housing Conference brings together practitioners from across the country, including many who work in housing-adjacent fields, like community health. The network of peers for housing organizations includes other organizations and local services. For example, healthcare institutions can play an important role in the support that housing organizations provide and vice versa. Housing is deeply connected to health, which becomes especially apparent when a veteran is living with mold, when a home that isn’t accessible for their disability, or when they’re recovering from challenges like PTSD or substance use disorder. The support that housing organizations goes further when it works in concert with other community services.

  • 3. It is crucial for housers to learn from a network of peers.

    In the Veterans Stakeholder Meeting, the panel was asked, “how do you start from ground zero?” Some of the meeting’s participants wanted to know how their housing organizations could expand into supporting veterans but didn’t know how to take the first step in building a network of support. One answer was for organizations to look for assistance within their community. The Veterans’ Place emphasized the importance of being willing to ask for help and of networking with other organizations, including housers in nearby areas. Groups like HAC and the Texas Veterans Commission that bring peer organizations together and connect them with resources act as force multipliers. By building connections among practitioners—both those with established veterans programs and those without—HAC provides a crucial service to the ecosystem of veterans housing.

  • 4. One size does not fit all for veteran housing assistance.

    Every veteran has their own unique story and lived experience. Placing all who served into the same category and assuming they face the exact same challenges is an ineffective approach to housing assistance. Recognizing this, the Veterans’ Place tailors its services to the needs of the individual. With open door policies and peer support, the Veterans’ Place emphasizes establishing boundaries and individual-specific systems when it comes to veteran housing. The Veterans Stakeholder Meeting proved the importance of this individualized approach across all housing programs, as organizations understand the unique needs of every veteran and continue to implement services that work for them.


The National Rural Housing Conference brought together practitioners from across the country. By sharing ideas as broad as the importance of partnership and as specific as the nitty-gritty of how a question is asked, these leaders learned lessons they can put into practice in their communities. As each community tailors these best practices to meet the specific needs of their veterans, HAC and The Home Depot Foundation will be there, supporting the local initiatives that bring us one step closer to a nation in which all veterans can have a healthy, accessible, and affordable place to call home.

HAC Seeks Proposals for its 2024 Affordable Housing for Rural Veterans (AHRV) Initiative

HAC’s Affordable Housing for Rural Veterans (AHRV) Initiative supports local nonprofit housing development organizations that meet or help meet the affordable housing needs of veterans with low incomes 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 critical home repair, accessibility modifications, support homeless veterans, help veterans become homeowners, and/or secure affordable rental housing.

HAC’s AHRV Initiative is funded through the generous support of The Home Depot Foundation. Applications are due by 4:00PM (EST) on or before Monday, January 22, 2024. For more information, contact HAC staff, ahrv@ruralhome.org. No phone calls please. Program staff will be available to answer questions during the Grant Funding Opportunity HAC 2024 AHRV RFP Overview webinar on January 10, 2024, at 2PM (ET).

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

Download Application (WORD) Application Guidelines Webinar Presentation
Maria Chavira cooks tortillas, eggs, and beans inside her home

HAC Announces Beneficiaries for Accessible & Universal Design Workshop Series

In rural areas, approximately one in three adults lives with a disability. Rural America also has a higher proportion of older residents than the nation as a whole. There is a pressing need to address the unique housing challenges facing these vulnerable populations. To empower rural communities with the necessary skills and expertise to do just that, we are excited to share that HAC has chosen 30 individuals from 27 organizations to participate in our exclusive Accessible and Universal Design workshop series.

Thanks to funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, this workshop series aims to equip participants with the latest tools and best practices tailored to address the unique challenges faced by rural communities. Shonterria Charleston, HAC’s Director of Training and Technical Assistance, emphasized, “rural residents living with disabilities encounter various obstacles. In recognition of Disability Pride Month, HAC is pleased to offer the Accessible and Universal Design Learning Series. This series is designed to highlight essential resources, expand capacity, and enrich expertise that empowers rural communities to implement inclusive housing programs that address the needs of all residents.”

A summary of the selected participants and the list of awarded organizations can be found below.

Workshop Series Summary

The Housing Assistance Council’s (HAC) Accessible and Universal Design workshop series is an opportunity to learn how housing activities can address the accessibility, mobility, and design needs of every client. This series will provide 30 housing professionals with the foundation, skills, and real-world examples needed to design and reimagine housing programs that support the changing needs of clients at every stage of life.

Through the learning series, HAC will guide participants on integrating accessible and universal design principles into their housing design and construction activities. By focusing on factors such as accessibility, mobility, and design flexibility, attendees will gain valuable insights on how to meet the diverse needs of community members.

Selected Organizations

  • Alaska Community Development Corp
  • Bishop Sheen Ecumenical Housing Foundation, Inc.
  • CAC of Fayette County
  • Caroline County Habitat for Humanity
  • City of Excelsior Springs
  • Community Outreach Housing
  • Community Ventures
  • Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (2 participants)
  • Fauquier Habitat for Humanity
  • Habitat for Humanity of Portage County (2 participants)
  • Habitat for Humanity of Wisconsin River Area
  • Impact Educational and Housing Development
  • Kent Attainable Housing, Inc.
  • Lakeway Area Habitat for Humanity
  • Mountain Projects, Inc.
  • MS Delta Housing Program, Inc.
  • PathStone Corporation
  • Penquis CAP
  • Pensacola Habitat for Humanity (2 participants)
  • Project BEE
  • Purple Heart Homes
  • Red Cliff Chippewa Housing Authority
  • RUPCO, Inc
  • Rural Alaska Community Action Program, Inc., (RurAL CAP)
  • Southside Outreach Group, Inc.
  • TCAC Tennessee’s Community Assistance Corporation
  • Transylvania Habitat for Humanity

Request for Applications – Accessible and Universal Design

Does your organization want to have housing programs that meet the needs of all people, regardless of age, ability, or life circumstance? Do you want to build and renovate affordable housing to make it accessible to a majority of people and allow people to age in place?

The Housing Assistance Council’s (HAC) Accessible and Universal Design workshop series is an opportunity to learn how your organization’s housing activities can address the accessibility, mobility, and design needs of every client. This series will provide 30 housing professionals with the foundation, skills, and real-world examples needed to design and reimagine housing programs to support the changing needs of clients at every stage of life.

Through the learning series, we will guide you on integrating accessible and universal design principles into your housing design and construction activities. By focusing on factors such as accessibility, mobility, and design flexibility, you will gain valuable insights on how to meet the diverse needs of your community members at all life stages.

Who should participate in HAC’s Accessible and Universal Design workshop series?

  • Affordable housing professionals overseeing affordable single-family new construction and/or rehabilitation programs.
  • Nonprofit construction team members that design and build affordable housing.
  • Housing nonprofit CEOs and other leaders looking to implement universal design across their programs and services.

Benefits

As part of our commitment to empowering housing professionals with hands-on knowledge and skills, this workshop series is limited to 30 dedicated individuals who will:

  • Gain an understanding of the principles of universal design
  • Recognize the importance of incorporating accessible and universal design features in housing activities
  • Acquire the tools needed to develop or refine housing programs that address accessibility and universal design, from intake to construction/rehabilitation
  • Earn the Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) certification through the National Association of Home Builders
  • Witness in-person demonstrations of both simple and complex solutions that show how accessible and universal design features can be both aesthetically pleasing and cost-effective

What’s more, as a participant, you’ll also be eligible to receive reimbursement for travel and training expenses (up to $1500 per training) to attend the two required in-person training events.

Timeline

  • View approximately five hours of virtual workshop content in September and October 2023.
  • Attend the entire Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) program at HAC’s National Rural Housing Conference on October 22 – 24, 2023 in Washington, DC.
  • Attend an in-person peer learning training in early February 2024 (details forthcoming).
  • Provide future feedback to HAC on how your organization incorporated accessible and universal design features into your housing programs.

Please note that it is essential for each deliverable to be fully completed before proceeding to the next one in the sequence; participant substitutions not permitted.

Requirements & Selection Criteria

To be eligible for participation in “Accessible and Universal Design,” you must be a located in or providing most services in a non-urbanized area or rural community, represent a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization or local municipality and be eligible to participate in HUD’s Rural Capacity Building Program, and commit to attending the two in-person training events on October 22 – 24, 2023 in Washington DC and at a location to be determined in early February 2024,

The deadline for application submission is July 14, 2023, and the pilot will be limited to 30 successful applicants. The organization should allocate adequate time, resources, and personnel for the duration of the workshop series, showcasing a commitment to implementing accessible and universal design features in their housing programs.

Join us on this journey to creating inclusive communities through accessible and universal design principles and make a significant impact on the lives of individuals and families in need of affordable, accessible housing.

HAC in the News

HAC receives $6,325,000 from HUD to invest in rural communities and rural housing

Contact: Dan Stern, dan@ruralhome.org
(202) 516-6882

Washington, DC, May 15, 2023 – The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) has been awarded a total of $6,325,000 funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to invest in the capacity of rural communities and help rural families achieve homeownership. HAC was awarded $4,000,000 from the Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP) and $2,325,000 in Rural Capacity Building (RCB) funding. The funds represent a portion of HUD’s $22 million investment into rural communities through the SHOP and RCB programs.

The funding was announced in conjunction with an event in Russellville, AR at which HUD Deputy Secretary Adrianne Todman toured several homes that are being built using funds from HAC’s SHOP program with local partner Universal Housing Development Corporation.

HUD’s official press release announcing the award included the following statement from Secretary Marcia L. Fudge “Today, we are investing in homeownership and expanding access to affordable housing to rural communities. The SHOP program provides a unique pathway for first-time homeowners and underserved groups to buy a home. At HUD, we care about rural America and these capacity building grants are further evidence of our commitment.”

SHOP funding will allow rural homebuyers to invest their sweat equity and hard work towards the construction of their own homes in rural communities. HAC will use its RCB funding to assist a group of eligible rural organizations to undertake affordable housing and community development activities in disadvantaged and other target communities around the country.

“HAC’s decades long partnership with HUD has provided affordable homes for people and increased capacity for organizations in rural communities across the United States,” said David Lipsetz, President & CEO of the Housing Assistance Council. “These awards will improve the lives of countless rural people and highlight HUD’s commitment to rural America!”

About the SHOP Program

The Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP) awards grant funds to eligible national and regional nonprofit organizations and consortia. Funds must be used for eligible expenses to develop decent, safe, and sanitary non-luxury housing for low-income persons and families who otherwise would not become homeowners. Examples are for purchasing home sites and developing or improving the infrastructure needed to set the stage for sweat equity and volunteer-based homeownership programs for low-income persons and families. Homebuyers must be willing to contribute significant amounts of their own sweat equity toward the construction or rehabilitation of their homes.

About the RCB Program

The Rural Capacity Building (RCB) program enhances the capacity and ability of rural housing development organizations, Community Development Corporations (CDCs), Community Housing Development Organizations (CHDOs), local governments, and Indian tribes to carry out affordable housing and community development activities in rural areas for the benefit of low- and moderate-income families and persons. The Rural Capacity Building program achieves this by funding national organizations with expertise in rural housing and rural community development who work directly to build the capacity of eligible beneficiaries.

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.

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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.