Rural communities need—and deserve—a coherent, national policy strategy that promotes prosperity. For such a strategy to move the needle, it must end the housing affordability crisis and build the capacity of rural communities to make the most of every opportunity.
Our homes are part of the foundation of thriving families and communities—they are pathways to realizing America’s full potential. With decent, healthy, and affordable homes, kids can succeed at school, seniors can age in place, and families can build wealth. Economics, health, education, and many more components of prosperous communities are all intimately tied to our homes.
The capital needed for a housing market to function is a lot like water: it flows down the path of least resistance, and it pools. For over 50 years—whether intentionally or not—public policy has channeled capital’s flow into sprawling metropolitan regions and allowed it to pool in suburbs and downtown commercial centers. This has deepened inequality and stifled opportunity in the communities that have been left out.
Building rural prosperity will happen one nail and one funding application at a time. Turning those into a national renaissance for rural America will take strategy. If we want investment to flow to a broader set of places and especially to the people and places which need it most, then we need public policy specifically designed to drive resources in their direction. To make the most of that capital, we must also build the capacity of those communities.
HAC builds the capacity of small towns and rural places to create thriving, prosperous communities. If you share our mission, please advocate on behalf of public funds for capacity building programs. We also hope you will consider making a gift to HAC to help us do more in rural America.