This issue of Rural Voices reports on some of the learning and brainstorming that occurred at the Housing Assistance Council’s 2016 Rural Housing Conference: Building Rural Communities. The magazine presents some of the conference highlights. Several articles are adapted from speeches given there. A set of maps taken from a conference presentation by Lance George, HAC’s Research Director, provides a dramatic view of some current “ruralities” – the ways rural America’s demographics and housing are changing. A series of five articles addresses action for a rapidly changing rural America on topics ranging from persistent poverty to creative placemaking. These pieces are based on white papers developed for the conference and in-depth participant discussions at the event. Their recommendations are timely and important as rural housing faces changes in policy and funding.
VIEW FROM WASHINGTON
Inequality Harms Us All
by Congressman Keith Ellison
Investing in rural America will not only improve the lives of people who live there, but will also help create a thriving country where everyone can succeed.
A set of maps demonstrate the ways rural America’s demographics and housing are changing.
Rural Community Development Can Address Inequality
by John Henneberger
A model demonstration Rural America Community Building program in each state would help overcome racial and economic inequality.
Action on Housing Programs and Infrastructure
by Hope F. Cupit and Julie Bornstein
Rural advocates can act on housing programs and infrastructure needs by improving messaging and advocacy efforts.
Action on Persistent Poverty and Rural Inequality
by R. Scott McReynolds and Ann Williams Cass
Rural advocates can act on persistent poverty and rural inequality by building the capacity of nonprofits and local government agencies in persistent poverty areas.
Action on the Opioid Epidemic and Rural Affordable Housing
by Alan Morgan
Rural advocates can act on the opioid epidemic and connected housing needs by making resources available, educating relevant parties, and working with partners to coordinate services.
Action on Creative Placemaking
by Bob Reeder and Lisa Neergaard
Rural advocates can use creative placemaking to help act on community needs.
Action to Nurture Rural Leaders
by Gisela Salgado and Janet Topolsky
Rural advocates can act on the need for future leadership by improving staff recruitment and retention, as well as educating and involving policymakers and community leaders.
Rural Voices would like to hear what you have to say about one, or all, of these issues. Please feel free to comment on this story by sending a tweet to #RuralVoicesMag, discuss on the Rural Affordable Housing Group on LinkedIn, or on our Facebook page.