From Food to Housing: Sacrificing Quality for Quantity in the Colonias

From Food to Housing: Sacrificing Quality for Quantity in the Colonias

In November, theWashington Postpublished an article entitled“Too Much of Too Little”about recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps, in Hidalgo County, Texas, one of the fastest growing and poorest places in the nation. The article highlighted families who are forced to choose between affordable yet unhealthy foods that keep their families fed throughout the month or healthy options that are less affordable and may not feed a family for as long. Low-income Americans dependent upon SNAP are often forced to shop “quantity over quality” in order to stretch paltry food budgets throughout the month. As a result, more and more people who do not have enough food to eat are facing obesity and diabetes at alarming rates.

Read the complete Blog post at Rooflines

Winter 2012 – 13: Taking Stock of Housing in Your Community

The winter 2012 – 13 issue of Rural Voices, Taking Stock of Housing in Your Community, is now available for download from the Housing Assistance Council. This issue includes information about the data resources available for rural community devlopers and advocates to document housing needs in their communities and make their case to policy makers.

View from Washington

Erika Poethig, Acting Assistant Secretary
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Policy Development and Research


Developing a Statistical Portrait of your Community
by Arthur Cresce, The U.S. Census Bureau
Using the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey

What is Rural?
by the Housing Assistance Council
A question that matters

Information on What Banks Are Doing in Your Community
by John Taylor, National Community Reinvesment Corporation
Getting the Most from Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) Data

Data Resources for Rural Communities
A Visual Guide to Selected Data and Information Sources

Q&A with John Cromartie
Rural Voices
sat down with John Cromartie, Senior Geographer at USDA’s Economic Research Service, to discuss demographic trends and data for rural areas

The National Housing Preservation Database
by Megan Bolton, National Low-Income Housing Coalition
A long awaited national database of federally-assisted housing can make the case for affordable housing preservation

Share your Story

Rural Voices is curious to hear your stories of how you have used data to further your work in your community. Do you have a story from your own community to share on this subject? Please share your story on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter and help demonstrate the importance of accurate data for rural communities across the country.

National Rural Housing Conference 2012


Materials from the 2012 HAC Conference
Promises to Keep in Challenging Times

Thank You to everyone who attended the 2012 National Rural Housing Conference. Look forward to seeing you all again in 2014!

Join the National
Rural Housing Conference group
on LinkedIn and network with your fellow attendees before you even attend!


HAC’s National Rural Housing Conference is an expression of our continuing commitment to provide local organizations with the resources needed to build affordable housing in rural America. The Conference will bring together more than 700 community-based housing advocates for a celebration of our collective efforts to develop and sustain affordable housing in rural communities. Based on the theme, “Promises to keep in Challenging Times” the Conference will focus on the promise America made through the Housing Act of 1949 and how those promises still apply even in the face of America’s new fiscal reality. Scheduled events will include numerous workshops, networking sessions, peer-learning opportunities, our awards program and entertainment.

The theme brings to mind the vision and promises America has made through the Housing Act of 1949 and all subsequent housing legislation and policy. While these promises, that include the opportunity for quality affordable housing, still remain the country continues to face a difficult fiscal situation with many questions or concerns about what can be done to protect affordable housing as an industry in the future, particularly in rural areas. Keeping the vision and promises is important, not just to increase the quality of life for low-income Americans, but also to build stronger and more sustainable communities as a whole.


The Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill
400 New Jersey Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20001


December 6-7, 2012

Pre-Conference Activities December 5

Stay Informed:

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Donate to the Conference:

Help HAC keep registration fees low for our participants.
Please donate to HAC’s conference.

Join the Conversation:

Join the National Rural Housing Conference Group on LinkedIn and tweet your thoughts, expectations and ideas for the Conference using hashtags #nrhc12 and #rural2012.

Don’t forget to Follow HAC for more on the Conference and all things rural housing.


September 2012: America’s Rural Heroes

The September 2012 of Rural Voices, America’s Rural Heroes.

Read more

Affordable Housing for Rural Veterans

Rural Veterans and Local Nonprofits Receive Housing Support

Funded by The Home Depot Foundation

Washington, D.C., September 21, 2018 – Veterans and their families in eleven rural communities will have better lives, thanks to The Home Depot Foundation and the Housing Assistance Council. The Foundation is awarding grants totaling $306,500 to eleven local nonprofit housing associations around the country to build or preserve housing for veterans in rural America.

The funds are part of The Home Depot Foundation’s Veteran Housing Grants Program, which wascreated to support the development and repair of housing for veterans. Too many American veterans and their families face major housing challenges, aggravated by issues like unemployment, age and service-related disabilities. The Home Depot Foundation is dedicated to giving back to those who have already given so much for our country.

Read More…

homedepotfoundationlogoMade possible with the Generous Support of The Home Depot Foundation

Veterans Data Central

A Resource for Informing Strategies to Help Veterans

The Housing Assistance Council (HAC), in partnership with The Home Depot Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation has created the Affordable Housing for Rural Veterans (AHRV) initiative to provide rural organizations with the technical assistance, training, information, and financial resources they need to improve their ability to serve veterans.

Veterans of the United States military services put their lives in danger to protect their country and its citizens. However, when they return home they are not always able to find housing and access to services in their communities.

Sponsored by:With Generous Support from JP Morgan Chase & Co.

In Partnership with The Home Depot Foundation, JP Morgan Chase Co, and The Wells Fargo Housing Foundation

Past Trainings

December 5, 2017: Affordable Housing Solutions for Rural Veterans: A Symposium – Recording

October 20, 2017: Veterans Aging Summit – Website

August 10, 2016: Overview on VA REO Property Preservation and Maintenance and Access Opportunities for Nonprofits – Materials: Presentation | Recording | Handbook

July 13, 2016: VA Specially Adapted Housing Grant Program – Materials: Presentation | Recording | Application

June 8, 2016: VA Housing Resources for Heroes: An In-depth Overview of the VA Home Loan Guaranty Benefit – Materials

May 18, 2016: Serving Our Aging Veterans: A Symposium – Materials

May 20, 2015: Serving Veterans in Rural America: A Symposium – Materials

May 6, 2015: Access to Health and Homeless Services for Rural Veterans – Materials

August 20, 2014: Building a Community for Veterans: Patriot Place, Tennessee – Materials

July 23, 2014: Canal Street Housing: Housing for Homeless Veterans – Materials

June 25, 2014: From Service to Shelter, Housing for Veterans in Rural America – Materials

April 22-23, 2014: Housing Seniors and Veterans in Rural America: Preservation, Development, & Services

April 9, 2014: Serving Veterans in Rural America – A Symposium – Summary and Materials

August 28-29, 2013: Housing Seniors and Veterans in Rural America: Preservation, Development and Services – Materials

Link to more Information and Resources

Link to Information about Initiative Grantees

Rural Economies and Industry Research Brief

Rural Economies and Industry

Rural Economies and Industry

rrn-econ-cover-thbHAC’s seventh Rural Research Note takes a brief look into rural America’s economies and industries. Rural economies, and people in general, are often perceived as being heavily reliant on farming and other natural resource industries. While it is true that the majority of these industries are located in rural places, they employ only 5.5% of rural and small town workers. Overall, the sector-by-sector employment profile of rural America is surprisingly similar to that of suburban and urban America.

This Rural Research Note presents employment data and maps that highlight the similarities, and differences, between rural America and more densely populated regions. Additionally, the effects of large agribusiness are explored within the context of small family farming.

July 2012

Why Keep Rural Housing Programs at USDA?

Why Keep Rural Housing Programs at USDA?

By Leslie Strauss
July 17, 2012

Rural housing professionals complain about USDA’s Rural Development/Rural Housing Service all the time. We also tout the advantages of using HUD programs, such as HOME, in rural areas. But we hate the idea of moving USDA’s housing programs to HUD. That is not the cure for rural housing’s problems.

Read the full blog post

HAC News: July 11, 2012

HAC News Formats. pdf

July 11, 2012
Vol. 41, No. 14

• Ag spending bill up next • House committee considering Farm Bill • Reserve account regulation revised for new USDA multifamily developments • USDA RD rule confirms annual fees for Section 502 guarantees • CFPB requests public comment about reverse mortgages • CFPB study on reverse mortgages identifies risks to consumers • Data access could help USDA monitor Rental Assistance payments, GAO says • Report highlights uses of American Community Survey data • Guide describes programs of Administration for Children and Families • HAC provides more rural poverty resources • SAVE THE DATE! 2012 National Rural Housing Conference! Promises to Keep in Challenging Times

July 11, 2012
Vol. 41, No. 14

AG SPENDING BILL UP NEXT. Following a July 4 recess at home, the House may take up 2013 appropriations for USDA soon. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) is expected to offer an amendment to keep growing rural communities eligible for RD housing programs. Similar amendments passed in the Senate as part of the Farm Bill in June and its USDA appropriations bill in April. There will be a continuing resolution to begin FY13 on October 1, 2012. Final budget decisions for 2013 will come in a post-election session, or in the new Congress next year.

HOUSE COMMITTEE CONSIDERING FARM BILL. The House Agriculture Committee began marking up its Farm Bill on July 11. The bill differs from S. 3240, approved by the Senate, and does not include housing provisions.

RESERVE ACCOUNT REGULATION REVISED FOR NEW USDA MULTIFAMILY DEVELOPMENTS. A final rule published in the Federal Register, 7/9/12, applies only to new construction Section 515 or 514/516 properties. Their reserve account deposits must be based on life-cycle analyses or Capital Needs Assessments prepared by third parties, rather than on the total development cost, as required in the past. Contact Michael Steininger, RD, 202-720-1610.

USDA RD RULE CONFIRMS ANNUAL FEES FOR SECTION 502 GUARANTEES. Implementing a provision of USDA’s FY12 appropriations act, a final regulation in the Federal Register, 7/11/12, enables RD to charge an annual fee as well as an up-front guarantee fee, in order to make the program self-supporting (see HAC News, 11/1/11). The fee amount will be announced each fiscal year. Contact an RD office or Cathy Glover, RD, 202-720-1460.

CFPB REQUESTS PUBLIC COMMENT ABOUT REVERSE MORTGAGES. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which regulates reverse mortgage transactions, seeks “detailed information from the public on the factors that influence reverse mortgage consumers’ decision-making, consumers’ use of reverse mortgage loan proceeds, longer-term consumer outcomes of a decision to obtain a reverse mortgage, and differences in market dynamics and business practices among the broker, correspondent, and retail channels for reverse mortgages.” Comments are due August 31. Contact Monica Jackson, CFPB, 202-435-7275.

CFPB STUDY ON REVERSE MORTGAGES IDENTIFIES RISKS TO CONSUMERS. In a report required by Congress, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau surveys the reverse mortgage market, identifies consumer protection concerns, and describes new challenges. It concludes that reverse mortgages are complex and hard for consumers to understand, misleading advertising and other scams occur, and the currently available consumer counseling may not be sufficient. It identifies roles for itself including regulation, education, and complaint resolution. Complaints on reverse mortgages can be submitted through CFPB’s website or by phone, 1-855-411-CFPB (2372).

DATA ACCESS COULD HELP USDA MONITOR RENTAL ASSISTANCE PAYMENTS, GAO SAYS. To identify RA payment errors due to unreported tenant income, legislation is needed to allow USDA to match tenant data with federal income data collected by other departments, according to a new GAO report, Rural Housing Service: Efforts to Identify and Reduce Improper Rental Assistance Payments Could Be Enhanced (GAO-12-624). GAO also suggests internal improvements that do not require legislation. For print copies, contact GAO, 866-801-7077 (toll free).

REPORT HIGHLIGHTS USES OF AMERICAN COMMUNITY SURVEY DATA. The Census Project compiled “Eliminating America’s Playbook,” a collection of case studies and comments from a range of organizations about the ACS’s importance to both government and business. The House voted in May to eliminate ACS funding from the Commerce Department’s FY13 appropriations bill (see HAC News, 5/16/12); the Senate has not yet voted on its bill.

GUIDE DESCRIBES PROGRAMS OF ADMINISTRATION FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES. ACF is part of the federal Department of Health and Human Services. It offers Assets for Opportunity IDA grants and resources for economic development, health care, refugee assistance, and other needs. Its program guide also includes basics for those new to requesting federal funding from any agency as well as links to capacity building resources.

HAC PROVIDES MORE RURAL POVERTY RESOURCES. In addition to its decennial rural poverty map (see HAC News, 6/27/12) HAC has issued a Rural Research Note on “Poverty in Rural America” and posted a recording of a recent webinar on the subject.


December 6-7 with pre-conference activities December 5
Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill, Washington, DC
Registration information will be announced here and at when available.

State of the Nation's Housing 2012 Report

State of the Nation's Housing 2012


State of the Nation's Housing 2012 Report

The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University released its annual State of the Nation’s Housing report for 2012 on June 14th. This year’s report presents signs of a recovery in the nation’s housing markets. However, the Joint Center cautions that this progress is measured and not evenly experienced across all markets and populations.  Additionally, the study notes that housing affordability problems are at an all-time high, and that housing assistance for low-income families has not kept pace with the demand for affordable housing. The State of the Nation’s Housing report can be accessed from the Joint Center for Housing Studies website at, 

The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) is a proud sponsor of the State of Nation’s Housing report.