Policy News from Congress

HAC Supports a Variety of Rural and Tribal Housing Funding Priorities

HAC’s Fiscal Year 2023 Appropriations Priorities

As the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 appropriations process gets underway, HAC is supporting a variety of rural and tribal housing funding priorities. This year, we saw the most robust Administration’s Budget for rural housing in recent memory, and we are hopeful that this will contribute to some momentum in the appropriations process. Among others, HAC supports the following rural housing funding priorities. (This list is not exhaustive and for Rural Housing Service programs not specifically mentioned, HAC supports the funding levels in the Administration’s FY23 Budget.)

USDA Multifamily Preservation:
  • $1 billion for USDA’s Multifamily Housing Preservation & Revitalization Demonstration (MPR) program
    • The cost to preserve the current USDA rental portfolio over the next 30 years is estimated to be over $30 billion. MPR is USDA’s most effective, and many times only feasible preservation funding tool. Applications have, however, been closed for four years as the Agency works through its waiting list, which is projected to take another four years.
  • $200 million for USDA Section 515, including new construction
    • This funding would allow for new construction to resume and is expected to be accompanied by a commensurate increase in Section 521 rental assistance to cover new units.
  • $350 million above the level needed for renewals to extend USDA Section 521 rental assistance to currently unassisted households
    • This funding would allow for the extension of rental assistance to cover all currently unassisted units. An estimated 67,000 households in USDA rental housing do not receive rental assistance from USDA, HUD or state sources (not including those that were covered by the American Rescue Plan). With an average annual income of only $13,500, these households are uniformly low income and often very or extremely low income. The vast majority also pay more than 30% of their income for rent. Providing this assistance will not only help families in need, but also shore up the finances of many developments, encouraging preservation.
  • $2 million for USDA Multifamily Housing Transfer & Prepayment Technical Assistance Grants
    • HAC is seeking to ensure that these funds support both transformational preservation research and the provision of technical assistance to improve transaction-level preservation deal flow.
  • $3 million for USDA’s Multifamily Housing Preservation Revolving Loan Fund Demonstration Program (PRLF)
    • PRLF was funded through appropriations for several years between 2005 and 2011 and provided loan capital to private non-profit organizations and state and local housing finance agencies to provide revolving loans for preservation.
Capacity Building:
  • $12 million for the Rural Community Development Initiative at USDA
    • The Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) is the sole capacity building resource provided through USDA’s Rural Development, and facilitates community development efforts in rural areas. Grants are competitively awarded to nonprofit housing and community development organizations, low-income rural communities and federally recognized tribes in order to support housing, community facilities, and economic development projects in rural areas.
  • $10 million for the Rural Capacity Building Program at HUD
    • The Rural Capacity Building Program (RCB) is a powerful and flexible program funded by HUD to build capacity of nonprofits and tribes to undertake affordable housing and community development activities in rural areas. Participating organizations are offered a suite of services for a comprehensive, customized approach of technical assistance, training, information products and resources, and low-cost rural housing development loans.
Rural & Tribal Homeownership:
  • $20 million for the Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program at HUD
    • Created in 1996, the Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP) is a small but unique program that helps low-income families achieve homeownership through sweat equity. Competitively awarded SHOP funds from HUD go to a network of local nonprofits, distributed via intermediaries. SHOP funds can be used to acquire land, purchase foreclosed or abandoned properties, and improve the infrastructure of homes for lower-income homeowners. Often these are some of the most difficult items for local nonprofits to finance. Families invest a minimum of 100 hours of sweat equity into the construction of their homes, but many families invest much more — often in excess of 500 hours.
  • $50 million for the Section 502 Single Family Housing Direct Loan Relending Program for Native Americans
    • In 2018, the USDA and two Native community development financial institutions (Native CDFIs) in South Dakota implemented a successful $2 million demonstration which sought to improve the deployment rate of the 502 direct program in Native communities in South Dakota. The pilot made Native CDFIs eligible borrowers under the 502 direct loan program and enabled them to relend to qualified families for the construction, acquisition, and rehabilitation of affordable housing on trust land. Through this demonstration, the two Native CDFIs in partnership with USDA made nearly double the number of loans on these two reservations than USDA deployed on its own on the same two reservations during the previous ten years. The President’s FY 2023 Budget request includes funding for the continuation and expansion of the Native American 502 home loan relending program as part of the existing USDA 502 single family housing direct loan program.

Updated Sept. 20: Senate Committee Votes to Keep Most Rural Housing Programs at FY19 Funding Levels

UPDATE September 20, 2019 – When HAC first posted about the bill, its text was not yet available and the information on this page was based on a summary from the Democratic members of the House Appropriations Committee. On September 20 the bill text was posted online. There are no changes to the information originally provided.

UPDATE September 19, 2019 – The full Senate Appropriations Committee approved the subcommittee’s bill.

On September 17, 2019 the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee approved a fiscal year 2020 spending bill that holds most USDA rural housing programs at 2019 levels, with increases for Section 521 Rental Assistance and Section 542 rural housing vouchers. This is far above the Administration’s budget proposal, but the bill approved by the House in June would increase funding for several other rural housing programs as well. If the full Senate approves the subcommittee’s bill, the differences between the House and Senate will have to be resolved by a conference committee.

USDA Rural Development Appropriations[tdborder][/tdborder]

USDA Rural Dev. Prog.
(dollars in millions)

FY18 Approp.

FY19 Final Approp.

FY20 Admin. Budget FY20 House Bill
(H.R. 3055)
FY20 Senate Bill (S. 2522)

502 Single Fam. Direct
Self-Help setaside*






502 Single Family Guar.


24,000 24,000 24,000 24,000

504 VLI Repair Loans


28 0 28 28

504 VLI Repair Grants


30 0 30 30

515 Rental Hsg. Direct Lns.


40 0 45 40

514 Farm Labor Hsg. Lns.


27.5 0 30 27.5

516 Farm Labor Hsg. Grts.


10 0 10 10

521 Rental Assistance


1,331.4 1,375 1,375 1,375

523 Self-Help TA


30 0 32 30

533 Hsg. Prsrv. Grants


15 0 15 15

538 Rental Hsg. Guar.


230 250 250 230

Rental Prsrv. Demo. (MPR)


24.5 0 40 24.5

542 Rural Hsg. Vouchers


27 35 35 32

Rural Cmnty. Dev’t Init.


6 0 8 6

Rental Prsrv. TA


1 0 0 1

* For the self-help setaside in Section 502 direct, the figures in the table represent budget authority, not program levels.

HAC News: September 11, 2013

HAC News Formats. pdf

September 11, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 18

• Continuing Resolution anticipated for federal funding • USDA temporarily speeds processing of applications for Section 502 direct loans • New housing counseling certification requirements proposed • RCDI NOFA contact information corrected • HUD changes HECM, requests comments on financial assessments • Comments sought on increasing fees for HUD Section 184 guaranteed loans • Poor housing quality tied to children’s problems • African-American housing and wealth studied • HAC launches expanded, updated Rural Data Portal and schedules webinar • 10,000 Friends of Rural America seeks to improve attention and respect

September 11, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 18

CONTINUING RESOLUTION ANTICIPATED FOR FEDERAL FUNDING. Congress is back in session this week and is expected to pass a short-term Continuing Resolution to begin FY14 on October 1. USDA rural housing and HUD programs will be continued at 2013 spending levels for the term of the CR, and could be further extended for the balance of 2014. This CR, like previous CRs in 2013, is likely to extend USDA’s current rural definition for all com-munities currently eligible for RD housing programs.

USDA TEMPORARILY SPEEDS PROCESSING OF APPLICATIONS FOR SECTION 502 DIRECT LOANS. To help obligate funds by the end of FY13 on September 30, a letter informs RD State Directors that loans may be approved and obligated subject to receipt of appraisals. Also, 502 direct loans for purchasers of homes with existing 502 direct loans will be treated as initial loans that will pay off the existing loans. Contact an RD office.

NEW HOUSING COUNSELING CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS PROPOSED. Implementing provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act, HUD suggests changes including creation of a system to certify individual counselors as well as counseling agencies. The proposal will be in the September 13 Federal Register and at, with comments due in 60 days. Contact Ruth Román, HUD, 202-708-0317.

RCDI NOFA CONTACT INFORMATION CORRECTED. RD’s August 14 funding notice for the Rural Community Development Initiative included errors in the addresses and phone numbers for RD state offices. A Federal Register notice to be published September 13 will make corrections. The deadline remains November 12.

HUD CHANGES HECM, REQUESTS COMMENTS ON FINANCIAL ASSESSMENTS. On September 3, 2013, Mortgagee Letter 2013-27 announced changes to the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage program. HUD seeks comments by October 5, 2013 on requirements for financial assessments, which evaluate borrowers’ ability to comply with mortgage requirements. Other new requirements will take effect September 30, 2013. Contact Karin Hill, HUD, 202-708-4308.

COMMENTS SOUGHT ON INCREASING FEES FOR HUD SECTION 184 GUARANTEED LOANS. HUD has written to tribal leaders requesting their feedback on increasing borrower fees to 1.5% of the loan amount from the current 1%. The higher amount would supplement congressional appropriations which, the letter says, will not be sufficient to meet program demand. Contact HUD staff,

POOR HOUSING QUALITY TIED TO CHILDREN’S PROBLEMS. A research brief published by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation reports on a six-year study that examined how five housing characteristics – quality, stability, affordability, ownership, and receiving a subsidy – impacted education, emotional problems, and behavioral problems. Poor housing quality was the most consistent and strongest predictor of emotional and behav-ioral problems, and was also related to school performance for adolescents. “Cumulative residential instability” was also highly relevant. “Poor Housing Quality is Tied to Children’s Emotional and Behavioral Problems” concludes that housing assistance programs are important and suggests stronger local housing codes and enforcement could help as well.

AFRICAN-AMERICAN HOUSING AND WEALTH STUDIED. The State of Housing in Black America 2013, published by the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, reports that black homeownership rates began to decline before the recession began in 2007, and the recession resulted in significant loss of wealth. Recommendations include redesigning the housing finance system with a focus on borrowers, ensuring adequate credit for rental housing development, and establishing a housing and community infrastructure bank.

HAC LAUNCHES EXPANDED, UPDATED RURAL DATA PORTAL AND SCHEDULES WEBINAR. The portal, online at, is an easy-to-use resource with over 350 data indicators providing essential information on the social, economic, and housing characteristics of communities in the U.S. – including not only rural places, but the nation, states, and suburban and urban areas also. Most of the information comes from HAC tabulations of the 2010 Census, the American Community Survey, and Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data. Join HAC for a webinar overview on Wednesday, September 18.

10,000 FRIENDS OF RURAL AMERICA SEEKS TO IMPROVE ATTENTION AND RESPECT. The movement, sponsored by a coalition of 25 rural nonprofits and supporters, including HAC, is designed to mobilize individuals and organizations willing to speak up for the real Rural America. To learn more and join, visit 10000friends

HAC News: February 6, 2013

HAC News Formats. pdf

February 6, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 3

• February is African American History Month • Series of federal funding decision points looms • Senate committee requests input on its budget resolution • Hurricane Sandy funds approved • HUD offers grants for Native American construction research • Downpayment sources for FHA mortgages addressed • USDA expands Section 502 refinance pilot • RD will continue to accept third-party inspections for 502 direct • Post-closing servicing requirements for MPR properties reiterated • RD addresses servicing for 515 borrowers who received damages • CFPB seeks comments on ability-to-pay rules • CFPB expands HOEPA coverage and housing counseling requirement • CFPB requires copies of appraisals • HUD requests ideas on AHS changes • 44% of U.S. households are “liquid asset poor” • History of rural housing programs summarized in HAC blog post

February 6, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 3

FEBRUARY IS AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY MONTH. President Obama’s proclamation is posted online.

SERIES OF FEDERAL FUNDING DECISION POINTS LOOMS. March 1: Automatic, across-the-board spending cuts in discretionary domestic programs (5.1%) and defense will occur unless Congress acts to avert them. March date unknown: The Administration will release its FY14 budget proposal. March 27: The continuing resolution that has provided FY13 funding ends and the government will shut down unless Congress takes action. April 15: Legislators’ salaries will begin to be escrowed as required by the debt ceiling increase bill signed into law by President Obama on February 4, unless/until Congress passes a concurrent budget resolution for FY14. A budget resolution is not binding, so the appropriations committees can begin considering FY14 funding bills without it. May 18/August date unknown: The debt ceiling is suspended through May 18 and then it increases by a formula that is expected to enable the federal government to continue meeting its debts until sometime in August.

SENATE COMMITTEE REQUESTS INPUT ON ITS BUDGET RESOLUTION. Senate Budget Committee chair Patty Murray (D-WA) invites comments and suggestions online.

HURRICANE SANDY FUNDS APPROVED. On January 29 President Obama signed into law a $50.5 billion supplemental appropriations bill that includes $16 billion in disaster CDBG funding for jurisdictions impacted by Hurricane Sandy or any other presidentially declared disaster in 2011, 2012, or 2013.

HUD OFFERS GRANTS FOR NATIVE AMERICAN CONSTRUCTION RESEARCH. Tribes, nonprofits, foundations, and institutions of higher education can apply by March 25 for the Transformation Initiative: Sustainable Construction in Indian Country Small Grant Program. Contact Mike Blanford, HUD, 202-402-5728.

USDA EXPANDS SECTION 502 REFINANCE PILOT. Fifteen states and Puerto Rico are added to the original 19 states (see HAC News, 2/8/12) where Section 502 direct and guaranteed borrowers who are current on payments can refinance to guaranteed loans with lower interest rates. Administrative Notice 4707 is available online or from USDA offices. Contact a USDA office or Kristina Zehr, RD, 309-452-0830, ext. 111.

RD WILL CONTINUE TO ACCEPT THIRD-PARTY INSPECTIONS FOR 502 DIRECT. An Unnumbered Letter dated January 7, 2013 repeats an October 27, 2011 UL.

POST-CLOSING SERVICING REQUIREMENTS FOR MPR PROPERTIES REITERATED. An Unnumbered Letter dated January 22, 2013 repeats a June 21, 2011 UL.

RD ADDRESSES SERVICING FOR 515 BORROWERS WHO RECEIVED DAMAGES. A UL reminds field staff that owners who received damages after settling prepayment litigation are not eligible for incentives or for prepayment.

CFPB SEEKS COMMENTS ON ABILITY-TO-PAY RULES. Comments are due February 25 on Consumer Financial Protection Bureau amendments to its ability-to-pay/qualified mortgage regulation (see HAC News, 1/23/13). Possible changes include exemptions for nonprofits, HFAs, and NFP grantees, and qualified mortgage status for small lenders. HAC will try to make its comments available before the deadline. Contact Jennifer B. Kozma, CFPB, 202-435-7700.

CFPB EXPANDS HOEPA COVERAGE AND HOUSING COUNSELING REQUIREMENT. A final rule expands the types of high cost mortgage loans that are subject to the Home Ownership and Equity Protections Act; imposes new requirements on HOEPA-covered mortgages, including a pre-loan counseling requirement; and exempts reverse mortgages (which were previously exempt), initial construction loans, loans originated and financed by housing finance agencies, and USDA Section 502 direct loans. Contact Richard Arculin, CFPB, 202-435-7700.

CFPB REQUIRES COPIES OF APPRAISALS. Another final rule implements a requirement for lenders to provide applicants with copies of appraisals in connection with applications for first lien mortgages, rather than providing copies only when applicants request them. Contact Owen Bonheimer, CFPB, 202-435-7000.

HUD REQUESTS IDEAS ON AHS CHANGES. HUD seeks input by April 2 on concerns related to redesigning the American Housing Survey sample, content that should be added or dropped, and ideas for data dissemination. Contact Shawn Bucholtz, HUD, 202-402-5538. HAC will try to make its comments available before the deadline.

44% OF U.S. HOUSEHOLDS ARE “LIQUID ASSET POOR” and 26% are “net worth asset poor.” The Corporation for Enterprise Development’s 2013 Assets and Opportunities Scorecard reports that most of these low-asset households have below-poverty level incomes, and a disproportionate number are minorities. Additional data, including state figures, are available online.

HISTORY OF RURAL HOUSING PROGRAMS SUMMARIZED IN HAC BLOG POST. HAC’s latest post on Shelterforce magazine’s Rooflines blog is “So Why Are Those Rural Housing Programs at USDA Anyway?”