HAC’s Moises Loza: Administration’s Housing Budget “Strikes Particularly Hard at Rural and Tribal Communities”

Moises Loza Speaking by Moises Loza, HAC’s Executive Director

I have worked in rural housing since 1973 and I have never seen a budget proposal that is indifferent to the needs of the most vulnerable rural people. Until now.

Vast proposed cuts to federal housing programs couple with a wholesale ripping of the social safety net for the most vulnerable. The budget strikes particularly at tribal and rural communities. Many of these communities, in decline for decades, are now awash in a national opioid crisis and are far-removed from Wall Street’s economic recovery. The budget falls hardest on those whom HAC’s partners serve: the elderly and/or disabled, often with incomes of $15,000 per year or less. Eliminating housing, food, and related assistance for vulnerable rural people destabilizes communities and upends families.

Today’s budget proposal sends a message to the nation: Rural America is not worthy of investment.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Housing Service—a linchpin of rural affordable housing built on public-private partnerships—would become a shell of its former self under the budget proposal. Doing away with rural housing, water, sewer, and other rural development mainstays would derail decades of infrastructure investment, particularly in rural counties mired in persistent poverty. Though much work remains, investments in rural America have improved the quality of life for millions.

Today’s budget proposal sends a message to the nation: Rural America is not worthy of investment.

How do we respond to this? HAC and our partners will continue to do what we have always done: Innovate with already meager resources to bring safe, decent, and affordable housing to those who most need it. In carrying out such efforts, I encourage HAC’s partners to make sure that members of Congress and the Administration are aware of this indispensable work. We invite USDA Secretary Perdue and HUD Secretary Carson to meet with HAC and our rural partners to hear this message.
I am heartened that Republicans and Democrats alike are speaking up to defend rural investments that make us all stronger.

Time and time again, leaders across the political spectrum have stepped forward to champion investment in rural housing and communities upon seeing the impact of such work in their communities. We need champions for rural America now more than ever.