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HAC to Expand Work with Community Facilities

For fifty years, the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) has helped build homes and communities across rural America. Now, we’re working to expand our footprint by working with more communities to develop and rehabilitate community facilities.

Community facilities—such as parks, libraries, hospitals, and childcare centers—provide public services for everyone, making neighborhoods a better place to call home. They not only cultivate a feeling of belonging; they also provide tangible benefits for residents. As HAC’s Director of Training and Technical Assistance, Shonterria Charleston, puts it, “building rural communities is about more than houses. It’s about building the places where people learn, where they grow, and where they get their healthcare.”

Thanks to two grants from the US Department of Agriculture, HAC will work with small towns, including those affecting by natural disasters, to build and rehab much-needed community facilities. In fact, HAC is hiring a Community Facilities Housing Specialist to help us do this work by providing technical assistance to rural organizations. You can learn more about the position here.

HAC CEO David Lipsetz contributes to CDFI Connect blog

HAC: Building Capacity for Rural Communities

by David Lipsetz, CEO of the Housing Assistance Council

It was the mid-1970s. Gerald Ford was in office. CDFIs like the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) were just getting started. And Peggy Wright was growing up in Forrest City, Arkansas.

Forrest City is part of Arkansas’ long-struggling Delta region, where rich soil rarely led to riches for the largely African American population toiling in the fields. Housing conditions were dire, and indoor plumbing was hardly commonplace. Within a few years, Peggy had grown up and joined the Arkansas Delta Housing Development Corporation (ADHDC). Despite the barriers of the times, she rose to the position of housing director at ADHDC, running a “Self-Help” housing model which allows those of modest means to put forth hundreds of hours of sweat equity toward construction of their own homes.

Read the complete post on the CDFI Connect Blog.

Volume 3 Number 2

Rural Voices: Housing and Economic Development

The Winter 1997-98 issue of Rural Voices highlights the intesection of Housing and Economic Development in rural areas.

Housing problems and economic problems go together in rural America. It often seems like a good idea to tackle both at once, but how? To what extent can housing development itself stimulate a local economy? What are the risks and rewards for a housing organization expanding into job creation, employment training, or business activities? This issue of Rural Voices includes two articles addressing these important questions.

First, the cover st01y examines the many positive economic impacts of housing development and suggests anumber of economic activities that fit well with housing endeavors. The second article explores factors a housing organization should consider in deciding whether to venture into economic development. Other timely subjects are included in this issue as well. A range of topics is covered in an interview with Nicolas P. Retsinas, until recently a top official at the Department of Housing and Urban Development and now the director of the joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. An expanded View fi·om Washington examines the impact of the Clinton Administration’s proposed budget on the Rural Housing Service’s programs that serve the poorest rural residents by producing low-cost rental housing and assisting tenants with rent payments.