The Housing Assistance Council is an independent, non-partisan and regularly responds to Congressional committees, Member offices, federal agencies, and policy advocacy coalitions with the research and information needed to make informed policy decisions. Our research work, Rural Data Portal, and Veterans Data Central all provide valuable, educational context to frame the rural policy conversation. If you want to know how a new program or policy could impact America’s small towns and rural places, please don’t hesitate to contact us at policy@ruralhome.org.

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.”

Manufactured Housing in the United States Map, 2018

Housing Assistance Council Statement on Proposed $500 Million Investment in Manufactured Housing

The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) applauds Chairman David Price (D-4th-NC) and Ranking Member Mario Diaz-Balart (R-25th-FL) of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations Subcommittee for their bipartisan and transformational investment in the Manufactured Housing Improvement and Financing Program.  The fiscal year (FY) 2023 budget bill passed this week by both the Subcommittee and the full Appropriations Committee includes $500 million to preserve and revitalize manufactured homes and manufactured housing communities, a long-underappreciated source of affordable housing for millions of Americans.

“The scale and scope of this bipartisan proposal, if enacted in the final FY 2023 HUD budget, would be a game-changer for families in need, HAC and our partners in this space.” – David Lipsetz, HAC CEO

This new program provides grants for a broad range of activities, from building affordable housing to building the capacity of local affordable housing organizations. The program will improve infrastructure, planning, resident and community services (including relocation assistance and eviction prevention), resiliency activities, and land and site acquisition.  The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) would distribute the funds competitively to non-profits, CDFIs, resident-owned manufactured housing communities, states, local governments, Tribes, and other eligible entities.

“Manufactured housing represents the nation’s largest supply of affordable housing. Until this program, the poor, largely-rural families living in these homes have been denied access to the public programs that preserve and maintain housing for those that need it most. Nor have the non-profit and public sector entities who work with manufactured housing received federal funding commensurate with the preservation and revitalization challenge they face for this vital affordable housing stock,” said HAC President & CEO David Lipsetz. “The scale and scope of this bipartisan proposal, if enacted in the final FY 2023 HUD budget, would be a game-changer for families in need, HAC and our partners in this space.”

HAC is the only national non-profit intermediary dedicated to affordable housing in rural America. With a mission-focus on the most rural and poorest places, HAC has long prioritized manufactured housing given its disproportionate share of the rural housing stock.  Nationwide, approximately 6.7 million households live in manufactured or mobile homes, which is six (6) percent of the nation’s housing stock. Yet over 50 percent of all manufactured homes are located in rural areas.  which comprises 14 percent of all occupied homes in rural communities – more than twice the national rate.

The proposed program from Chairman Price and Ranking Member Diaz-Balart builds on the Subcommittee’s May 26th hearing “Manufactured Housing: Supporting America’s Largest Unsubsidized Affordable Housing Stock,” in which HAC’s Director of Research and Information Lance George testified on the challenges facing those seeking to maintain the quality of this essential affordable housing.  His testimony established that many manufactured housing residents lease the land on which their homes sit, leaving them vulnerable to evictions and predatory lot rents. And about two-thirds of manufactured home loans are classified as high cost—five times the national average for all homes.  His testimony concluded “manufactured housing is already a significant source of affordable housing in rural places, and it should continue to be a high-quality, affordable housing option.”  HAC strongly believes the Manufactured Housing Improvement and Financing Program would be a major step toward achieving just that.

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”).

 

*   *   *

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.

*   *   *

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.”

 

Policy News from Congress

HAC’s Research Director to Speak at Congressional Manufactured Housing Hearing

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.

 

Lance George Statement to House THUD Committee - May 26, 2022

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

 

Policy News from the Administration

HAC CEO Statement on Biden-Harris Housing Supply Action Plan

by David Lipsetz

The Biden-Harris Administration released a Housing Supply Action Plan on May 16 that can bring the cost of housing back in line with families’ incomes. This is particularly important in small towns where incomes remain stubbornly low, while the cost of buying or renting a place to live is soaring. The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) applauds the Administration for designing and including several provisions specifically with rural markets in mind.

The Plan includes administrative and legislative proposals to improve existing housing finance mechanisms. It establishes new housing production programs. It calls for changes to the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit that will attract private investment in affordable rental housing. It provides grants—such as the HOME Investment Partnerships Program—to states, cities and towns to do what locals know will be best for their local housing market.  It calls on Congress to establish a Housing Supply Fund and incentivize zoning reform to accelerate the building of more housing across the Nation.

Critically, the Administration proposes reforms that prioritize homeowners living in the homes that they own. This is a welcome change for rural Americans who need high-quality affordable homes in which to live far more than they need high-priced vacation homes. For rental housing, the Administration focuses investment on small-scale 2–4-unit buildings instead of high-rise apartment complexes. It calls for new rentals where few are being built and recognizes the urgency of preserving affordable rentals that already exist. And for the first time in decades, an Administration released a housing plan that calls for improved financing for manufactured housing, an important resource in rural places.

The shortage of affordable housing in rural America is a serious issue. Rental units are being lost at an alarming rate. Single-family homes are significantly older than elsewhere in the Nation. The Administration’s framework recognizes the unique need for affordable housing and proposes solutions built to work in small town and rural America.

Many of the Administration’s actions just announced reflect HAC’s policy priorities. But it remains critical that these actions be complemented by initiatives to address another essential factor in improving housing for rural Americans—building the capacity of local organizations to improve their own communities. Because rural places often have small and part-time local governments, they often find it particularly difficult to navigate the complexities of federal programs and modern housing finance, and to compete for government resources. Philanthropy has not stepped in to address this inequity built into our systems, instead concentrating its resources in already-prosperous high-cost regions. Targeted capacity building through federal investments in training and technical assistance is how most local organizations build skills, tap information, and gain the wherewithal to do what they know needs to be done.

Rural communities hold vast potential to drive economic growth and improve the quality of life for all Americans. Access to quality, affordable housing is key to jumpstarting that potential. Building and preserving homes creates jobs, improves education and health outcomes, and provides much-needed financial and physical stability to families in need. We look forward to working with the Biden-Harris Administration and Congress to ensure that these initiatives move us closer to the day when every American has access to a safe, decent, and affordable place to call home.

Policy News from Congress

HAC Supports a Variety of Rural and Tribal Housing Funding Priorities

HAC’s Fiscal Year 2023 Appropriations Priorities

As the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 appropriations process gets underway, HAC is supporting a variety of rural and tribal housing funding priorities. This year, we saw the most robust Administration’s Budget for rural housing in recent memory, and we are hopeful that this will contribute to some momentum in the appropriations process. Among others, HAC supports the following rural housing funding priorities. (This list is not exhaustive and for Rural Housing Service programs not specifically mentioned, HAC supports the funding levels in the Administration’s FY23 Budget.)

USDA Multifamily Preservation:
  • $1 billion for USDA’s Multifamily Housing Preservation & Revitalization Demonstration (MPR) program
    • The cost to preserve the current USDA rental portfolio over the next 30 years is estimated to be over $30 billion. MPR is USDA’s most effective, and many times only feasible preservation funding tool. Applications have, however, been closed for four years as the Agency works through its waiting list, which is projected to take another four years.
  • $200 million for USDA Section 515, including new construction
    • This funding would allow for new construction to resume and is expected to be accompanied by a commensurate increase in Section 521 rental assistance to cover new units.
  • $350 million above the level needed for renewals to extend USDA Section 521 rental assistance to currently unassisted households
    • This funding would allow for the extension of rental assistance to cover all currently unassisted units. An estimated 67,000 households in USDA rental housing do not receive rental assistance from USDA, HUD or state sources (not including those that were covered by the American Rescue Plan). With an average annual income of only $13,500, these households are uniformly low income and often very or extremely low income. The vast majority also pay more than 30% of their income for rent. Providing this assistance will not only help families in need, but also shore up the finances of many developments, encouraging preservation.
  • $2 million for USDA Multifamily Housing Transfer & Prepayment Technical Assistance Grants
    • HAC is seeking to ensure that these funds support both transformational preservation research and the provision of technical assistance to improve transaction-level preservation deal flow.
  • $3 million for USDA’s Multifamily Housing Preservation Revolving Loan Fund Demonstration Program (PRLF)
    • PRLF was funded through appropriations for several years between 2005 and 2011 and provided loan capital to private non-profit organizations and state and local housing finance agencies to provide revolving loans for preservation.
Capacity Building:
  • $12 million for the Rural Community Development Initiative at USDA
    • The Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) is the sole capacity building resource provided through USDA’s Rural Development, and facilitates community development efforts in rural areas. Grants are competitively awarded to nonprofit housing and community development organizations, low-income rural communities and federally recognized tribes in order to support housing, community facilities, and economic development projects in rural areas.
  • $10 million for the Rural Capacity Building Program at HUD
    • The Rural Capacity Building Program (RCB) is a powerful and flexible program funded by HUD to build capacity of nonprofits and tribes to undertake affordable housing and community development activities in rural areas. Participating organizations are offered a suite of services for a comprehensive, customized approach of technical assistance, training, information products and resources, and low-cost rural housing development loans.
Rural & Tribal Homeownership:
  • $20 million for the Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program at HUD
    • Created in 1996, the Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP) is a small but unique program that helps low-income families achieve homeownership through sweat equity. Competitively awarded SHOP funds from HUD go to a network of local nonprofits, distributed via intermediaries. SHOP funds can be used to acquire land, purchase foreclosed or abandoned properties, and improve the infrastructure of homes for lower-income homeowners. Often these are some of the most difficult items for local nonprofits to finance. Families invest a minimum of 100 hours of sweat equity into the construction of their homes, but many families invest much more — often in excess of 500 hours.
  • $50 million for the Section 502 Single Family Housing Direct Loan Relending Program for Native Americans
    • In 2018, the USDA and two Native community development financial institutions (Native CDFIs) in South Dakota implemented a successful $2 million demonstration which sought to improve the deployment rate of the 502 direct program in Native communities in South Dakota. The pilot made Native CDFIs eligible borrowers under the 502 direct loan program and enabled them to relend to qualified families for the construction, acquisition, and rehabilitation of affordable housing on trust land. Through this demonstration, the two Native CDFIs in partnership with USDA made nearly double the number of loans on these two reservations than USDA deployed on its own on the same two reservations during the previous ten years. The President’s FY 2023 Budget request includes funding for the continuation and expansion of the Native American 502 home loan relending program as part of the existing USDA 502 single family housing direct loan program.
Policy News from Congress

Over 300 Organizations Express Support for SHOP and RCB Programs

With the help of our network of organizations working across the country in rural areas, more than 300 organizations signed on to support increased funding for SHOP and the Rural Capacity Building (RCB) programs at HUD. HAC has helped almost 10,000 rural families achieve homeownership using the SHOP program, and has provided thousands of hours of customized technical assistance to more than 750 local organizations using the RCB program. Check out the letter below to learn more. Thanks to Habitat for Humanity, Community Frameworks, and Tierra del Sol for their partnership on this effort!

FY23 SHOP and RCB Organizational Sign-on Letter