Jennifer Emerling / There Is More Work To Be Done

HAC News: August 17, 2023

Vol. 52, No. 17


Federal agencies offer assistance after Hawaii fires

President Biden’s major disaster declaration for Maui County makes federal aid available. FEMA’s site provides information about resources available from FEMA and other sources. HUD announced disaster relief and waivers available from many of its programs.

Information can help people keep Medicaid and CHIP health insurance

USDA’s multifamily housing office encourages stakeholders to help tenants keep Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Coverage Program health coverage as states are required to review eligibility of all enrollees, a process called “unwinding.” Many people who remain eligible have lost coverage for administrative reasons. USDA’s bulletin suggests actions to take and provides links for information. Links to resources are also included in the March 2 HAC News.

USDA proposes rule based on manufactured housing pilot

Comments are due October 16 on a proposed regulation that would expand use of the Section 502 direct and guaranteed programs for manufactured housing. Among other changes, the rule would remove current limits on what existing manufactured homes could be purchased with both direct and guaranteed loans. Both types of loans could also be used for new energy-efficient homes sited on leased land in communities operating on a nonprofit basis or on Tribal land. For more information on direct loans, contact Sonya Evans, USDA, 423-268-4333; on guaranteed loans, contact the Guaranteed Loan Division, 833-314-0168.

Rural Voices magazine shows how housing helps address the rural substance use disorder crisis

A new issue of Rural Voices, HAC’s magazine, highlights innovative approaches to providing housing for residents in recovery with a cross-sector analysis of successful collaborative approaches to addressing the issues associated with substance use disorders.


The Recovery Ecosystem Index analyzes the community-level factors that are in place to support individuals in recovery from substance use disorder. This map is based on a tool that allows creation of county-level maps to understand these factors and where additional resources are most needed to provide support to individuals in recovery. Source: The Fletcher Group, Inc., East Tennessee State University, and ETSU/NORC Rural Health Equity Research Center, Recovery Ecosystem Index.


Final Davis-Bacon regulation released

The Department of Labor has issued an extensive update of its Davis-Bacon regulation. The rule’s changes are intended to strengthen and streamline the process for setting and enforcing wage rates on federally funded construction projects. DOL also posted information about the revisions, including FAQs and a chart comparing the old and new rules. For more information, contact Amy DeBisschop, DOL, 202-693-0406.

Abatement could be required for lower levels of lead in buildings

EPA proposes to make stricter two standards related to dust-lead hazards in buildings constructed before 1978, and to adopt other changes as well. Comments are due October 2. For more information, contact the Toxic Substances Control Act Hotline, 202-554-1404,

HUD seeks input on application burden

The deadline has been extended to September 13 for commenting on the burden people face when applying for or maintaining eligibility for HUD’s housing programs. For more information, contact Todd Richardson, HUD, 202-402-5706.

Comments invited on allocation of Tribal home electrification and appliance rebates funds

The U.S. Department of Energy requests comments on the allocation formula for the Tribal Home Electrification and Appliance Rebates program, which will fund energy efficiency and electrification home upgrades. DOE’s notice also describes how consortia of Tribes may apply for funds. Comments are due September 15. For more information, contact Adam Hasz, DOE, 202-617-9081.

HUD proposes Buy America waiver for Pacific islands

HUD proposes an 18-month waiver of the Build America, Buy America requirement for construction materials that would apply to the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and American Samoa. Materials must be shipped to these islands, which are thousands of miles from the U.S. mainland. Comments are due September 1. Send questions to or contact Faith Rogers, HUD, 202-402-7082.

Appraisal bias to be addressed by new partnership

HUD and the National Association of Real Estate Brokers announced a collaboration that will launch in October to increase efforts to combat racial appraisal bias in home property valuation. The partnership will include online training for counselors, roundtable discussions on bias and discrimination, educational material distribution, and appraisal-related training.

Regulations hope to promote trust in federal statistics

The Office of Management and Budget has proposed regulations that are intended to promote public trust in the federal agencies that produce federal statistics. The provisions cover topics such as statistical agencies’ relationships with, and autonomy from, their parent agencies; oversight by OMB; communication with the public and obtaining feedback; accuracy; objectivity; and confidentiality. Comments are due October 2. For more information, contact Kerrie Leslie, OMB, 202-395-5898.

USDA RD multifamily housing income limits posted

The July 20 HAC News provided the link to RD’s 2023 single-family income limits but left out the multifamily limits. For more information, contact Tammy Daniels, USDA.

Comments urge HUD and USDA to adopt new energy efficiency standards

HAC submitted a comment letter to HUD and USDA on August 7, signed by over 80 organizations from around the country and supporting adoption of updated energy efficiency standards for some newly constructed housing.  The letter asks the agencies to protect residents against any increased upfront costs, to provide technical assistance for those who implement the new standards, and expand strong energy efficiency requirements to additional programs.

HAC comments support decoupling USDA rental housing and Rental Assistance

Responding to a directive from Congress, USDA held stakeholder meetings and collected comments on decoupling USDA Section 521 Rental Assistance from Section 515 rental housing loans to facilitate the rehabilitation and preservation of the multifamily portfolio. HAC recently submitted comments in support of decoupling, emphasizing the need for long-term affordability, support for the entire suite of preservation programs, establishing a plan for prepayments, and more.


National Rural Housing Conference registration is open

Register now to join stakeholders in the field of rural affordable housing, community development, and placemaking at the 2023 National Rural Housing Conference October 24-27 in Washington, DC. The 2023 conference theme is Build Rural – both a literal and figurative appeal to explore and provoke action to build and renew rural communities by addressing housing affordability and preservation, community infrastructure and essential facilities creation and revitalization, resident led placemaking, capacity building, and community inclusion and justice efforts.

Webinar will cover rural creative placemaking

A webinar on August 30, hosted by USDA RD and the University of Kentucky, will help rural leaders learn about creative placemaking approaches to help improve the lives of people in their areas. Creative placemaking integrates arts, culture, and design activities into efforts that strengthen communities. Attendees will learn how rural leaders started their projects and how completed projects are impacting their communities.


New persistent poverty approach could be detrimental for rural areas

Switching from counties to census tracts as the basis for defining persistent poverty may hurt rural communities and their chances when competing for federal dollars, HAC researcher Keith Wiley and former HAC deputy director Joe Belden explain in a Daily Yonder article. A recent report from the Economic Innovation Group suggests this change, which would shift the categorization from largely rural to primarily urban places. In Analysis: A New Approach to Defining Persistent Poverty, Wiley and Belden agree that these urban communities need investment and focused policies, but caution that such a change should lead to expanding investment rather than shifting where it occurs.

Rural poverty described in new book

In an article titled What the Best Places in America Have in Common: And What they Reveal about Alleviating Poverty Across the Country, the authors of a new book explain that, as urban researchers, they were surprised to discover that many of the most disadvantaged places in the U.S. are rural counties and that most have majority BIPOC populations. The book, The Injustice of Place: Uncovering the Legacy of Poverty in America, describes these areas. Many of their counties of greatest advantage are also rural, in the historically agricultural Upper Midwest states. When their Multidimensional Index of Deep Disadvantage was released in 2020, the HAC News noted the index’s map was strikingly similar to HAC’s map of persistent poverty counties.

Housing influences rural health

The University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center’s Housing as a Social Determinant of Rural Health Project evaluates the well-understood concept of housing as a social determinant of health from a rural perspective. The most recent of three publications, Differences in Residential Stability by Rural/Urban Location and Socio-Demographic Characteristics, reports that rural residents are more likely to live in their homes for more than 20 years and highlights the need for support for home repairs for rural residents. The earlier papers are Housing Quality by Disability, Race, Ethnicity, and Rural-Urban Location: Findings from the American Community Survey and Crowded Housing and Housing Cost Burden by Disability, Race, Ethnicity, and Rural-Urban Location.

Briefs discuss upgrades for manufactured homes

Topic Briefs: Upgrading Manufactured Homes, a set of three briefs published by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, provides information on how states and utilities can help improve manufactured homes. The series includes an overview of manufactured housing and its residents, lessons learned from model state and utility retrofit and replacement programs, and key federal funding opportunities for upgrading manufactured homes.


Support HAC through the Combined Federal Campaign

We are excited to share that HAC is participating in the 2023 Combined Federal Campaign, the workplace giving campaign for federal employees.  Support raised through this year’s CFC will help ensure that families across rural America have a safe, healthy, affordable place to call home. If you are a current or retired federal government employee, we hope you will consider supporting HAC as part of your participation in the CFC (CFC#27823)!

HAC is hiring for several positions

  • The Senior Accountant is responsible for applying technical and leadership skills to guide accounting practices and recording of transactions. The successful candidate will have experience in a complex organization and demonstrate a balanced communication style and strong critical thinking skills. This position is hybrid, based in Washington, DC.
  • The Senior Housing Specialist – Multifamily is a senior-level role that combines expertise in multifamily housing programs, specifically focusing on USDA 515 and HUD rural housing programs, with the responsibility of providing technical assistance, with a particular focus on transfers of USDA 515 properties. This position plays a leadership role in offering specialized knowledge on USDA 515 transfers and affordable housing preservation, supporting the success of affordable housing initiatives, and ensuring program compliance. This position is eligible for telecommuting.
  • The Financial Controller is responsible for day-to-day management of HAC’s finance and accounting processes, applying technical and leadership skills to determine proper application of accounting policies, practices, activities, and recording of transactions in accordance with GAAP and applicable industry standards. The successful candidate will have experience in a complex organization and will demonstrate a strong customer service orientation, balanced communication style, and robust critical and strategic thinking skills. This position is eligible for a hybrid schedule.
  • The Senior Human Resources and Payroll Administrator oversees all aspects of human resources and payroll practices and processes. People are HAC’s most important asset and this individual will be an impactful contributor to ensure we have a happy and productive workplace where everyone is inspired to bring their best work, realize their professional growth aspirations, and participate in helping HAC accomplish its mission. This position is eligible for a hybrid schedule.
  • The Executive Assistant supports the work of HAC’s Chief Executive Officer, senior leadership, and board of directors. The position is a blend of administrative work and project assignments. Duties and responsibilities include maintaining an effective and well-organized Executive Office, serving as the primary point of contact for the CEO, and managing the meetings, materials, and other needs of HAC’s board of directors. This position is based in Washington, DC.

Need capital for your affordable housing project?

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

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

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