20 Years of Rural Voices

What a Difference 20 Years Makes

This edition, “20 Years of Rural Voices,” highlights and revisits a selection of articles published over the past two decades.

View from Washington

Let’s Recommit to Rural America
by Congressman Bennie Thompson

Rep. Bennie Thompson challenges his colleagues in Congress to re-engage in the fight to keep successful federal rural housing programs alive.s


Self-Help Housing on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation: Alive and Well
by Leslie Newman

There is more than one way to design a self-help housing program, and collaboration between community organizations helps.

Still Ticking After All These Years: Low-Income Housing Tax Credits in Washington State
by Kim Herman

Tax credits have remained important in rural Washington, financing the production of thousands of homes.

Rural Midwest Housing Remains Complex and Diverse
by Ann Ziebarth and Jeff Crump

Whether growing, stable, or declining, rural communities in the Midwest face challenges in providing housing for lowincome residents.

The Housing Trust Fund Movement Spans the Country
by Mary Brooks

State and local housing trust funds continue to offer flexible funding for affordable housing across the country, and a national fund has been created as well.

Where You Live Matters: Fair Housing is Still the Law and Even Stronger
by Shanna Smith

The Fair Housing Act has been law since 1968, and new developments in 2015 have strengthened it.

Reflections on Cushing Dolbeare and Eleven Years of Housing Change
by Sheila Crowley

Cushing Dolbeare founded the National Low Income Housing Coalition; her legacy guides the organization years after her death.

20 Years Do Make a Difference
by Joe Belden

Many things have changed since 1995, says a veteran rural houser, but rural housing needs and solutions have never been partisan issues, and should not be now.

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.

Rural Voices: Volume 4 Number 3

Rural Voices: Housing in the Rural Midwest

The Summer 1999 issue of Rural Voices celebrates two events, the passing of the Housing Act of 1949 and the opening of HAC’s fourth regional office is Kansas City, MO. In some ways these events are very different, but both are part of improving housing for rural Americans.

The first event occurred in 1949. That summer, exactly 50 years ago, the Housing Act of 1949 became law and created the first of the rural housing programs we still use today. From relatively small beginnings – a Section 502 direct loan program for homeownership and a Section 504 loan and grant program for home repairs, both available only to farmers – the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s rural housing programs have grown to a lengthy list of tools for financing better housing, and have improved the homes of many tens of thousands of rural residents. In honor of the programs’ anniversary, Rural Voices explores the passage of the 1949 Act, examines some changes over the last 50 years, and describes the historical beginnings of the popular self-help housing program.

The second event happened in late May this year. The Housing Assistance Council formally dedicated its fourth regional office. Located in Kansas City, Mo., and focused on serving the Midwest, this field office joins others in Atlanta, Ga.; Albuquerque, N.M.; and Mill Valley, Calif. Housing programs in the Midwest are not a new topic for Rural Voices, but this issue does emphasize that part of the country. One article provides an overview of rural housing conditions in the Midwest, and another describes the successes achieved by one community action agency in Kansas.

More good news is provided in our View From Washington department, which describes funding increases likely to be adopted for rural housing in fiscal year 2000.