Jennifer Emerling / There Is More Work To Be Done

HAC News: January 4, 2024

Vol. 53, No. 1


Next appropriations crisis deadline is January 19

When the Senate and House reconvene on January 8 and 9, they will face two upcoming deadlines for fiscal year 2024 funding. The continuing resolution that is currently in effect split the 12 federal appropriations bills into two groups. Four of them – USDA, Transportation-HUD, Energy, and Veterans – expire on January 19, while the rest end on February 2. The Senate has passed funding measures for both USDA and HUD, each of them considerably different from its House counterpart. The House failed to pass its USDA bill and has not yet voted on HUD.

Congress could enact individual appropriations bills, minibuses, an omnibus, another short-term continuing resolution, or a CR that covers the remainder of the fiscal year, or it could allow all or part of the federal government to close. The Fiscal Responsibility Act, the debt ceiling compromise negotiated in spring 2023 that includes reductions in federal spending, requires funding cuts if full-year appropriations bills are not enacted by April 30, but the dollar amounts cannot be calculated yet, as explained in an OMB memo to heads of federal agencies.

January is National Poverty Awareness Month

The Census Bureau reports that the official poverty rate in 2022 was 11.5%, with 37.9 million people in poverty. Using the Supplemental Poverty Measure, which accounts for assistance and expenses that are not included in the official poverty measure, the 2022 poverty rate was 12.4%. The SPM child poverty rate more than doubled from 5.2% in 2021 to 12.4% in 2022.


Rural poverty rates, for all races and ethnicities, exceed those of their suburban or urban counterparts. One out of every three Black or Native rural Americans lives in poverty. These poverty levels are more than twice as high as the national poverty rate of 12.6%. Rural Hispanics, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders, persons of two or more races, and those who identify as other races all have poverty rates at 20% or higher. Source: HAC tabulations of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017-2021 American Community Survey. To learn more about poverty and other economic conditions in rural America visit HAC’s Taking Stock report.  


HAC invites proposals for Affordable Housing for Rural Veterans grants

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 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, make accessibility modifications, support homeless veterans, help veterans become homeowners, and/or secure affordable rental housing. The AHRV Initiative is funded through the generous support of The Home Depot Foundation. Applications are due by 4:00 pm Eastern on Monday, January 22. For more information, contact HAC staff, No phone calls please. Program staff will be available to answer questions during a webinar on January 10.

HUD launches Energy and Water Benchmarking

HUD’s new Energy and Water Benchmarking Service is available for properties participating in its project-based rental assistance programs. Property owners will receive data on energy and water consumption at their properties, as well as technical assistance and training. HUD intends the data to help identify opportunities for energy efficiency improvements and assess rehabilitation efforts that may be eligible for grant or loan funding under HUD’s Green and Resilient Retrofit Program or other sources of funding. HUD’s contractor, Leidos, will be contacting property owners to discuss the program. Owners may also contact HUD at to participate.

Resilience funding for government agencies available

FEMA’s Safeguarding Tomorrow through Ongoing Risk Mitigation (STORM) Revolving Loan Fund Program will make grants to state, territorial, and Tribal governments to capitalize revolving loan funds that will help local governments reduce risks from disasters, natural hazards, and other related environmental harm. Applications are due April 30. For more information, contact FEMA staff,

ConnectHomeUSA broadband program expanding

HUD hopes to add urban, rural, and Tribal communities to CHUSA, which provides technical assistance and information to help PHAs and Tribes improve broadband connectivity and use in HUD-assisted housing. Applications are due February 15. HUD will hold a webinar for applicants on January 11. For more information, email

USDA hiring Climate Change Fellows

Forty Climate Change Fellows with a range of skills are needed to help with applications from farmers, ranchers, and rural small businesses seeking funding for clean energy projects under the Rural Energy for America Program. Three of the fellows will work remotely, reporting to USDA RD’s national office; 36 will be based in offices around the country and one in Puerto Rico. Initial appointments may be for up to two years, with extensions possible. USDA’s search is part of a broader American Climate Corps effort involving several government agencies, which will hold listening sessions and accept written comments through January 31.

AARP award to honor nonprofit founders

The AARP® Purpose Prize® will honor people age 50-plus who founded nonprofit organizations at age 40 or older and are still active. Awardees’ organizations will receive $50,000 as well as a year of supports and resources to help broaden their impact. Applications are due February 29.


Compliance dates extended for HOTMA income calculation rule

HUD’s Community Planning and Development office has extended the date for its programs to comply with the final rule on tenant income and assets under the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016 (HOTMA). CPD’s notice sets January 1, 2025 as the compliance date for the HOME, HOME-ARP, Housing Trust Fund, HOPWA, CDBG, Emergency Solution Grants, and Continuum of Care programs, as well as CPD programs funded through competitive processes. PIH Notice 2023-27 makes the same change for PHAs, and PIH Notice 2023-34 extends the deadline for the Indian Housing Block Grant program.

USDA RD announces new appointments

Sarah Dietch has been named Rural Development Chief of Staff. She has served most recently at the U.S. Peace Corps, and previously held senior roles at USDA RD and other federal agencies. Betsy Dirksen Londrigan, who has been RD’s State Director for Illinois since January 2022, will become the Rural Business-Cooperative Service Administrator when Dr. Karama Neal leaves the position in mid-January. Their appointments and others were announced in late December.

Treasury seeks input on financial inclusion strategy

The Treasury Department requests comments by February 20 to help develop a national strategy to broaden access to financial services among underserved communities and improve their ability to use financial tools and services. For more information, contact Natalia Li, Treasury, 202-622-1388.

HUD issues Buy America guidance for public housing

PIH Notice 2024-01 explains application of the Buy America requirements for PHAs. It does not apply to Tribes or Tribal entities.

Summer Meals for Children planning underway

States, Tribes, and territories can opt in to the Summer Meals for Children program offered by USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service. In addition to the traditional congregate summer meals program, some program operators now have the option to provide “grab and go” or home-delivered meals. A list of participating states and links to more information are posted here. Videos on the program are available in English (USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack) and Spanish (Deputy Secretary Xochitl Torres Small).


Guides help older adults evaluate housing choices

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has published four free guides for older homeowners making decisions about their homes: “Leaving Your Home to Children or Heirs,” “Making Housing Decisions after Losing a Spouse or Partner,” “Making Housing Decisions when your Health Changes,” and “Using Home Equity to Meet Financial Needs.”

Renewables work well with resident-owned cooperatives

Grist reports on the benefits of resident-owned cooperatives in building climate resiliency. The article, titled How Mobile Home Co-Ops Provide Housing Security – and Climate Resilience, explains that owners are able to upgrade infrastructure quickly, while the co-op provides a community and shared knowledge and resources to invest in climate-friendly projects that reduce utility costs.

Residents fight to save historic Black communities

An Associated Press article and video highlight residents struggling to preserve the remaining historic Black communities, defined as settlements founded by formerly enslaved people. Approximately 1,800 Black historic settlements once existed in the U.S., but now fewer than 30 incorporated historic Black towns remain. Residents of Daufuskie Island, South Carolina; Eatonville, Florida; and other historic Black communities fight against zoning ordinances, home devaluations, and private developers to preserve their homes, communities, and cultures.

Advocates hope to include farmworkers’ rights and protections in the next Farm Bill

Farmworker groups and other organizations are working to include farmworker protections, such as safer working conditions, higher minimum wages, and overtime pay, in the next Farm Bill, according to a Modern Farmer article. Advocates hope their cause will be helped by the additional time provided when the current Farm Bill was extended through September 30, 2024. Since labor rights are outside the USDA’s jurisdiction, historically farmworker rights – along with housing provisions – have been excluded from the Farm Bill since its inception in 1933. To describe what farmworker advocacy can achieve, the article cites New York state’s recent Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act, which grants labor rights such as collective bargaining and overtime pay to farmworkers.

Toolkit shows how energy efficiency can reach underserved residents, including rural

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy offers a toolkit titled Adapting Energy Efficiency Programs to Reach Underserved Residents. It highlights strategies that utilities and third-party program administrators can use to expand energy-efficiency program participation among all underserved households, with specific guidance on reaching income-eligible households, renters and residents of multifamily buildings, and rural communities. Strategies are rated by feasibility and by impact.


HAC’s office has moved

HAC’s new street address, effective on January 1, 2024, is 1828 L Street, N.W., Suite 505, Washington, DC 20036. Our phone number remains 202-842-8600.

HAC is hiring

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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