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.

Policy News field

HAC’s Research Director Testifies on Persistent Poverty on Capitol Hill

On Tuesday, November 15, 2022 at 10:00 am EST the Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development and Insurance convened a hybrid hearing entitled, “Persistent Poverty in America: Addressing Chronic Disinvestment in Colonias, the Southern Black Belt, and the U.S. Territories.” Lance George, HAC’s Director of Research and Information, provided testimony during the hearing.

Watch the Hearing

For more information on Persistent Poverty, read The Persistence of Poverty in Rural America.

HAC Advises Housing Protections and Education for H-2A Farmworkers

HAC responded on October 24, 2022, to a request for information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), which is developing a Farm Labor Stabilization and Protection Pilot Program.  FSA says this “grant program will use up to $65 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding to provide support for agricultural employers in implementing robust labor standards to promote a safe, healthy work environment for both U.S. workers and workers hired from Northern Central American countries under the seasonal H-2A visa program.”

HAC’s comments noted that currently, the H-2A program requires employers to provide free housing to visa holders that complies with a set of guidelines. While the law requires these living quarters to be inspected before occupancy, Department of Labor (DOL) data shows that neither federal nor state governments have allocated sufficient resources to conduct these inspections. In 38 states, there is no regulation of farmworker housing or dedicated agency to perform the required inspections. States that do have housing inspection systems in place are often under resourced.

Key takeaways:

  • Affordable, Decent Housing

    The pilot program should incentivize accessible, affordable, and decent housing for farmworkers

  • Wellness Checks

    This pilot program should fund farmworker organizations and partner organizations who are on the ground and familiar with farmworker communities to perform regular wellness checks

  • Survey of Conditions

    The pilot program should fund a detailed, comprehensive survey on farmworker housing conditions

  • Appropriate Communication

    Services and information should be provided in appropriate languages and using appropriate communication techniques

  • Training in Rights

    Trainings and informational resources should be made available that cover workers’ rights (including housing) and how to report exploitative practices

Policy News town

Rural Setaside Included in Major New HUD Homeless Funding Initiative – UPDATED 9/19/22

Webinar recording and slides posted

A webinar titled Funding Opportunities: Learn More About HUD’s Special NOFO to Address Rural Homelessness and New Stability Housing Voucher Program, cosponsored by HAC, the National Alliance to End Homelessness, and the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, was presented on September 15, 2022. The webinar recording and slide presentations are now available online.

Introduction

On June 22, 2022, HUD released a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) titled “Continuum of Care Supplemental to Address Unsheltered and Rural Homelessness.” A total of $322 million in recaptured Continuum of Care (CoC) funds is available, comprised of $267.5 million for an “Unsheltered Homelessness Set Aside” and $54.5 million for a “Rural Set Aside.”

Any CoC that registered for the FY 2022 CoC program competition may apply under this NOFO. Projects under the Unsheltered Homelessness Set Aside may serve any geographic area within the CoC. A CoC whose service area includes places that meet the rural definition (below) may apply for either the Unsheltered Homelessness Set Aside or the Rural Set Aside, or both.

Projects that will serve places where CoCs have not previously worked are targeted for special attention within the Rural Set Aside. When HUD scores applications, 10 points out of the total 100 available are specifically for “projects that serve individuals and families in geographic areas that have high levels of homelessness, housing distress, or poverty, and are located where CoC services have until now been entirely unavailable, such as, for example, Trust Lands and Reservations.”

This Competition

CoC applications are due to HUD on October 20, 2022. Each CoC must design its own “collaborative process” to develop its proposal, including a process for project applications. A local organizations or government entity must apply to its area CoC to be included in the CoC’s application to HUD.

This competition is separate from the FY 2022 CoC program competition, which has not yet opened. Applications and awards for this competition will not impact those for the FY 2022 competition.

Eligible Project Applicants

Nonprofit organizations, states, local governments, instrumentalities of state and local governments, Indian Tribes, TDHEs, and PHAs are eligible to apply for project funding under either set aside in this competition. For-profit entities are not eligible to apply or to be subrecipients of grant funds.

Rural Definition

Counties and county equivalents where the Rural Set Aside can be used are listed in the NOFO’s Appendix B.

The rural definition used for this competition was adopted in the HEARTH Act, which provides that a rural area is a county that meets one of three criteria:

  1. It is completely outside of OMB-designated standard metropolitan statistical areas (i.e., it is nonmetropolitan).
  2. It is in an OMB-designated metropolitan statistical area and at least 75% of its population lives in census blocks classified as non-urban.
  3. It is located in a state that has a population density of less than 30 persons per square mile (as reported in the most recent decennial census), and that has at least 1.25% of its total acreage under federal jurisdiction, provided that no metropolitan city in such state is the sole beneficiary of the grant amounts awarded under this NOFO.

Funds Available

The maximum amount that each CoC can request is listed in the NOFO’s Appendix A. These amounts are calculated differently for the two set asides. For the Unsheltered Set Aside, each CoC is eligible for its Preliminary Pro Rata Need (PPRN) for the FY 2022 CoC Program Competition or $60 million, whichever is less. For the Rural Set Aside, the maximum is set at 150% of the combined PPRNs for the FY 2022 CoC Program Competition of all of the CoC’s rural areas.

Grant Terms

Grants under this NOFO will be for three-year terms. Grants for hard costs are not renewable. HUD expects that others will be renewable under regular CoC competitions, though they caution that they cannot guarantee what will happen in the future.

Eligible Activities

The Rural Set Aside can be used to finance more activities than the Unsheltered Set Aside, as summarized in the table below.

 

 

Unsheltered Set Aside

 

Rural Set Aside

 

Eligible activities

 

Permanent housing

Supportive services only

HMIS

Joint transitional housing and permanent housing-rapid re-housing

Planning costs (capped at 3% of maximum award amount)

Unified Funding Agency costs (capped at 3% of maximum award amount)

 

Permanent housing

Supportive services only

HMIS

Joint transitional housing and permanent housing-rapid re-housing

Rent or utilities in some situations

Emergency shelter costs

Repairs to make housing habitable

Capacity building activities (capped at 20% of total funds a CoC requests)

Emergency food and clothing

Costs to use federal inventory property

Staff and overhead directly related to carrying out activities in this list

 

Ineligible activities

 

Acquisition

New construction

Rehabilitation

 

Planning costs

Unified Funding Agency costs

 

Eligible Participants/Definition of “Homeless”

Characteristics of people who will be eligible to participate in projects funded under each set aside in this NOFO – i.e., those who are considered to be “homeless” – are listed in the table below.

 

 

Unsheltered Set Aside

 

Rural Set Aside

 

Eligible participants

 

People who are literally homeless, “except that persons coming from transitional housing must have originally come from places not meant for human habitation, emergency shelters, safe havens, or institutions where they resided for 90 days or less and originally came from places not meant for human habitation, safe havens, or emergency shelters”

Domestic violence victims

 

People who are literally homeless

People who are precariously housed

Domestic violence victims

Youth or families considered homeless under other statutes, if CoC obtains HUD approval, limited to certain types of projects, and capped at 10% of award

 

 

Ineligible participants

 

People who are precariously housed

Youth or families considered homeless under other statutes

 

None

 

Plan for Severe Service Needs

Each CoC applying under this NOFO must develop a “Plan for Serving Individuals and Families Experiencing Homelessness with Severe Service Needs.” For both the Unsheltered and Rural Set Asides, large portions of the application and the potential scoring points are based on these plans.

The NOFO defines Severe Service Needs as

any combination of the following factors: facing significant challenges or functional impairments, including any physical, mental, developmental or behavioral health disabilities regardless of the type of disability, which require a significant level of support in order to maintain permanent housing (this factor focuses on the level of support needed and is not based on disability type); high utilization of crisis or emergency services to meet basic needs, including but not limited to emergency rooms, jails, and psychiatric facilities; currently living in an unsheltered situation or having a history of living in an unsheltered situation; experiencing a vulnerability to illness or death; having a risk of continued or repeated homelessness; and having a vulnerability to victimization, including physical assault, trafficking or sex work.

Most of the plans’ components must be provided in applications for either Unsheltered or Rural funds. The outline of plan contents is provided in the table below, along with indications of where the requirements differ for Rural Set Aside applications.

 

 

Plan Component

 

Required for Unsheltered Set Aside

 

Required for Rural Set Aside

a. Leveraging housing resources
1. Development of new units and creation of housing opportunities Y Y
2. Landlord recruitment Y Y
b. Leveraging healthcare resources Y Y
c. CoC’s current strategy to identify, shelter, and house individuals and families experiencing unsheltered homelessness
1. Current street outreach strategy Y Y
2. Current strategy to provide immediate access to low-barrier shelter and temporary housing for individuals and families experiencing unsheltered homelessness Y N
3. Current strategy to provide immediate access to low barrier permanent housing for individuals and families experiencing unsheltered homelessness Y Y
d. Updating the CoC’s strategy to identify, shelter, and house individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness with data and performance Y N
e. Identify and prioritize households experiencing or with histories of unsheltered homelessness Y Y
f. Involving individuals with lived experience of homelessness in decision making Y Y
g. Supporting underserved communities and supporting equitable community development Y Y

A different section of the NOFO contains a paragraph – which also appears in the FY 2021 CoC program NOFO – requiring applicants to identify steps they “will take” to ensure that traditionally marginalized populations (such as racial and ethnic minorities and persons with disabilities) will be able to meaningfully participate in “the planning process.” It is not clear whether, or how, this requirement would apply to the process of developing the severe needs plan, since this plan must be completed in order to be included in the application along with the proposal for steps applicants “will take” in developing future plans.

Application Scoring

For the Unsheltered Set Aside, HUD will select CoCs for awards based on the CoCs’ scores. All projects of the selected CoCs will be funded, up to the funding cap for those CoCs. For the Rural Set Aside, however, HUD will score the individual projects included in each application and select the highest scoring projects, up to the CoC’s maximum funding amount.

HUD will score the rural projects on a 100-point scale. Up to 50 points will correspond to HUD’s score for the CoC’s overall Rural Set Aside application. Up to 40 points will be based on the CoC’s ranking of the project (CoCs are required to rank all project applications for either set aside). Finally, another 10 points may be awarded to “projects that serve individuals and families in geographic areas that have high levels of homelessness, housing distress, or poverty, and are located where CoC services have until now been entirely unavailable, such as, for example, Trust Lands and Reservations.”

HUD may adjust its final project selections to ensure that at least one CoC in each HUD region is funded and that not more than 10 CoCs from a single state are funded.

Links for Additional Information

HUD email address for questions: SpecialCoCNOFO@hud.gov

HUD page where all information and supporting resources for this competition will be posted: https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/comm_planning/coc/specialCoCNOFO

HUD Continuum of Care program page: https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/comm_planning/coc

HUD page to locate a CoC serving a particular area: https://www.hudexchange.info/grantees/find-a-grantee/

HUD standard funding opportunity page for this NOFO: https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/spm/gmomgmt/grantsinfo/fundingopps/fy21coc_urh

Official grants.gov page for this NOFO: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=341301

Site where CoC applications will be entered: https://esnaps.hud.gov/

 

*   *   *

New HUD Rural Homelessness Initiative Announced

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 field

HAC Submits Community Reinvestment Act Comments

 

The Community Reinvestment Act is essential to communities across the nation. Through CRA, financial services have been made available to many places that might otherwise be overlooked. In spring 2022 the three federal agencies that regulate banks and other lenders – the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve Board, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation – jointly issued a proposed new CRA rule. This proposal, and the many efforts which will follow, are critically important to ensure not only that current CRA-related activities and investments continue but that they expand to reach populations and communities for which access to affordable finance is still elusive.

This is especially important in rural communities across the country as many are considered high credit need areas. CRA modernization will help incentivize more lending in these areas and increase community development activities. As rural communities continue to change, the CRA must adjust as well to reflect modern lending practices. The proposed rule has the potential to further increase lending in high need rural areas, but HAC has a number of recommendations to optimize CRA’s impact.

HAC believes a final rule could further increase CRA’s impact on underserved rural communities if it:

  1. includes activities in rural communities as an additional impact factor, informed by the most precise, density-based definitions already used by policymakers and the research community;
  2. ensures uniform treatment of all CDFIs and supports the most transformative CDFI activities in underserved rural communities;
  3. modifies the definition of affordable housing to enable housing providers to respond effectively to the unique income demographics and constraints on government capacity of rural communities;
  4. clarifies how consequential the impact factors can be for a bank’s community development test performance and overall rating; and
  5. prevents banks with a substantial number of rural assessment areas from “gaming” the NPR’s performance benchmarks under the retail lending test.

To learn more about HAC’s full recommendations, read our full comment letter.

Other comments submitted to OCC are posted online and can be reviewed here.

Policy News town

HAC Concerned about Buy America Requirements

HAC Comments to USDA, July 2022

On July 29, the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which proposed to establish waivers from Buy America requirements for purchases of de minimis, small grants, and minor components of infrastructure projects.

Key Takeaways

  • Housing and community facilities should not be considered public infrastructure under the Build America, Buy America Act.
  • If housing and community facilities are considered public infrastructure, it would be in the public interest to waive the Buy America preference for USDA’s programs to finance these construction projects so that scarce funds and staff resources can be devoted to addressing the current housing crisis.
  • Waivers for purchases of de minimis, small grants, and minor components of infrastructure projects would also be in the public interest.

HAC Comments to HUD, July 2022

HAC expressed concern about the impact of “Buy America” requirements on affordable housing in comments it submitted to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on July 15, 2022.

Key Takeaways

  • Buy America preferences should not apply to assisted housing. HUD’s priority should be to address the affordable housing crisis. Furthermore, the law defines infrastructure as projects that benefit the general public, while assisted housing is available to only a subset of the general population.
  • HUD should not apply Buy America preferences to owner-occupied housing because the Office of Management and Budget has specifically stated that private homes are not considered to be infrastructure.
  • HUD should not apply Buy America preferences when HUD assistance is used for infrastructure that is built solely to support affordable housing, as is the case with the Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP).
  • HUD should not apply Buy America preferences to housing that receives less than $250,000 in federal funding, to developments with fewer than eight units, or to situations when HUD funding covers only a small portion of the per unit development cost.
  • HUD should issue expedited waivers for materials that experience price spikes.
  • HUD should provide guidance to help reduce administrative burdens on entities that receive HUD funding.

Build America, Buy America

HUD, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and other federal agencies are subject to a “Build America, Buy America” (BABA) requirement in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, which mandates that iron, steel, manufactured products, and construction materials used in infrastructure projects be American made. The provision applies to most federally funded infrastructure projects; it is not limited to projects funded through the 2021 Act.

Any preferences for American-made products that were in effect before the Infrastructure Act passed remain in place.

Federal agencies were required to publish initial lists showing which of their programs could be subject to the Buy America preference. The Office of Management and Budget issued guidance for federal agencies regarding compliance and set up a website to track agency requests for waivers.

HUD Implementation

On June 1, HUD requested public comment to help implement BABA for its programs. It asked questions such as what HUD-financed projects might fall under exemptions from the preference, how materials are currently sourced, and more. It also asked what HUD programs might be considered to fund infrastructure in addition to those on its initial list, which includes HOME, the Community Development Block Grant program, and SHOP.

The deadline for comments was later extended to July 15.

HUD has moved to waive the buy America requirement while the department works on implementing it. HUD announced it was providing two waivers, both effective on May 14 (the statutory deadline for implementation) unless it issued a later announcement changing the date. HUD’s general waiver is effective for six months. Its waiver for Tribal recipients of HUD funds lasts for one year.

USDA Implementation

USDA did not include any of its Rural Development agency’s housing or community facilities programs on its initial list of infrastructure programs, which focuses instead on utilities and broadband programs. In a recent request to OMB, however, RD did include housing and CF along with others on a list of programs it intends to evaluate under the new law.

USDA Rural Development, like HUD, hopes to delay the requirements’ effectiveness temporarily. It asked OMB to approve a waiver that would last six months after the date of approval.

Treasury Implementation

The Treasury Department’s list of programs that may be subject to BABA’s requirements does not include any Community Development Financial Institution Fund programs. It does include the Homeowner Assistance Fund, a program intended to help homeowners impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, and the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds programs, which help state, local, and Tribal governments and can be used for housing.

 

Policy News field

HAC’s Comments on Duty to Serve for Native American Communities

The FHFA requested comments on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s Duty to Serve plans for Native American communities. Dave Castillo, CEO of Native Community Capital and a HAC Board Member, provided oral comments, accompanied by longer written comments, on behalf of HAC. Housing finance in Native American communities has been a stunning example of both racial and geographic inequity at both the policy and private market levels for decades. If implemented robustly, Duty to Serve has the potential to improve the lives of people living in the most underserved communities. HAC has several improvements that we think should be made to best serve Native communities’ need:

Key Takeaways

  • Allow GSE Equity Investments for Native CDFIs

    Equity investments would allow CDFIs serving Native communities to strengthen their capital structures, leverage additional debt capital, and, as a result, increase lending and investing in their communities.

  • Increase purchase goals for mortgages on Native lands

    Fannie Mae has no set goal and Freddie Mac’s is very modest. Increasing these would show the Enterprises’ commitments to Native housing and help Native communities house more people adequately.

  • Establish Native lending teams

    These teams would focus on Native communities and help ensure that these communities are treated equitably and with cultural competency.

  • Create Native-tailored mortgage products

    Tribal lands have unique property ownership structures and creating loan structures that can meet Native communities’ specific needs would help increase investments and economic growth.

  • Increase LIHTC investment in Native communities

    Despite how successful LIHTC has been in many communities, rural and Native communities have not been able to benefit equitably from these tax credits. The Duty to Serve plans have goals to invest in rural communities but adding goals for Native communities specifically would ensure that they are served as well.

Policy News from Congress

HAC’s Stakeholder Comments on Rural Housing Service Programs

HAC submitted comments to Senators Tina Smith (D-MN) and Mike Rounds (R-SD), the Chair and Ranking Member of the Housing, Transportation, and Community Development Subcommittee of the Senate Banking Committee, in response to their call for recommendations on how to improve the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Housing Service (RHS) programs. RHS programs are a critical source of housing for our nation’s small towns and rural places. HAC hopes that Senators Smith and Rounds will use these stakeholder comments to help improve the efficiency and impact of RHS programs, especially as more multifamily properties leave the USDA portfolio.

Topline Takeaways  

  • Multifamily

    HAC strongly recommends that the Senators authorize important multifamily preservation programs and simplify the process for transferring properties to non-profit owners in order to help more properties remain in RHS programs and maintain their affordability. HAC also recommends that the Senators investigate the rental assistance programs available in rural areas and extend these to more rural renters.  

  • Single family

    HAC recommends that the Senators improve the Section 504 program which provides grants for single family home repair. Simplifying and making this program’s funds more accessible would help more families stay in their homes and preserve single family homeownership. 

  • Capacity building

    Many communities have the willingness and desire to help improve their housing opportunities but lack the technical skill or capacity to accomplish their goals. HAC recommends authorizing capacity building programs that would help communities develop the tools they need to thrive. 

  • RHS staffing and operations

    HAC recommends improving the workflow within RHS and updating the technology the RHS staff uses to increase efficiency and help RHS better serve rural communities.  

Read HAC’s Comments

HAC Comments on RHS Reforms
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

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