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Policy News from the Administration

HAC CEO Statement on Biden-Harris Housing Supply Action Plan

by David Lipsetz

The Biden-Harris Administration released a Housing Supply Action Plan on May 16 that can bring the cost of housing back in line with families’ incomes. This is particularly important in small towns where incomes remain stubbornly low, while the cost of buying or renting a place to live is soaring. The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) applauds the Administration for designing and including several provisions specifically with rural markets in mind.

The Plan includes administrative and legislative proposals to improve existing housing finance mechanisms. It establishes new housing production programs. It calls for changes to the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit that will attract private investment in affordable rental housing. It provides grants—such as the HOME Investment Partnerships Program—to states, cities and towns to do what locals know will be best for their local housing market.  It calls on Congress to establish a Housing Supply Fund and incentivize zoning reform to accelerate the building of more housing across the Nation.

Critically, the Administration proposes reforms that prioritize homeowners living in the homes that they own. This is a welcome change for rural Americans who need high-quality affordable homes in which to live far more than they need high-priced vacation homes. For rental housing, the Administration focuses investment on small-scale 2–4-unit buildings instead of high-rise apartment complexes. It calls for new rentals where few are being built and recognizes the urgency of preserving affordable rentals that already exist. And for the first time in decades, an Administration released a housing plan that calls for improved financing for manufactured housing, an important resource in rural places.

The shortage of affordable housing in rural America is a serious issue. Rental units are being lost at an alarming rate. Single-family homes are significantly older than elsewhere in the Nation. The Administration’s framework recognizes the unique need for affordable housing and proposes solutions built to work in small town and rural America.

Many of the Administration’s actions just announced reflect HAC’s policy priorities. But it remains critical that these actions be complemented by initiatives to address another essential factor in improving housing for rural Americans—building the capacity of local organizations to improve their own communities. Because rural places often have small and part-time local governments, they often find it particularly difficult to navigate the complexities of federal programs and modern housing finance, and to compete for government resources. Philanthropy has not stepped in to address this inequity built into our systems, instead concentrating its resources in already-prosperous high-cost regions. Targeted capacity building through federal investments in training and technical assistance is how most local organizations build skills, tap information, and gain the wherewithal to do what they know needs to be done.

Rural communities hold vast potential to drive economic growth and improve the quality of life for all Americans. Access to quality, affordable housing is key to jumpstarting that potential. Building and preserving homes creates jobs, improves education and health outcomes, and provides much-needed financial and physical stability to families in need. We look forward to working with the Biden-Harris Administration and Congress to ensure that these initiatives move us closer to the day when every American has access to a safe, decent, and affordable place to call home.

Spring 2012: HOME Works for Rural Communities

The Spring 2012 issue of Rural Voices includes more than 25 brief success stories from rural organizations that have utilized the HOME program to develop housing, create jobs, and provide decent affordable homes for their communities.

Views from Washington

The HOME Investment Partnerships Program: Cornerstone of Affordable Housing Development Efforts
by Senator Partick Leahy, (D – VT)

The HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME)
by Mercedes Márquez

FEATURES

What is the HOME Program
A detailed overview of the HOME Program.

The New HOME Rules and What They Mean
HUD has plans to make several changes to the HOME Final Rule. What are those changes and how will they impact rural communities?

STORIES FROM YOUR COMMUNITY

This issue of Rural Voices features success stories from organizations that have successfully utilized the HOME program to develop housing, create jobs, and provide decent affordable housing for their communities.

HAC would like to thank the following organizations for sharing their stories:

Brazos Valley Affordable Housing Corporation, City of Hesperia/Hesperia Housing Authority, City of Santa Clarita, Cocopah Indian Housing and Development, Community Action, Inc., Community Development Commission of Mendocino County, Community Housing Partners, Community Support Program, Inc., Crawford-Sebastian CDC, Delta Area Economic Opportunity Corporation, Economic Security Corporation, Freedom West Community Development Corporation, Inter-Lakes Community Action Partnership, New Mexico Housing & Community Development Corporation, Northwest Housing Alternatives, Opportunities for Chenango Inc., PathStone Corporation, PRIDE of Ticonderoga, Inc., Self Help Enterprises, South County Housing Corporation, Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership, St. Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County, Inc., Tierra Del Sol Housing Corporation, Tri-County Opportunities Council, Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, and Walker Montgomery Community Development Corporation.

Share your Story

Rural Voices is not a large enough publication in which to cover all the stories of how HOME has positively benefitted communities across the country. Do you have a great story from your own community to share on this subject? Please tell us in the comments below, share your story on Facebook, LinkedIn, or tweet #HUDHOMEWorks and help demonstrate the importance of the HOME program to communities across the country.

HOME program weblinks.

Share your HOME Success Story