House Bill Proposes Rural Housing Cuts, Though Not for Purchase Mortgages or Rental Vouchers

The House Appropriations Subcommittee released its fiscal year 2025 funding proposal for USDA on June 10, 2024, and will hold a markup at 6:00 pm Eastern time on June 11. As expected, the bill would fund most USDA housing programs at levels lower than those enacted for FY24 or proposed in the administration’s FY25 budget.

The House measure would increase Section 502 direct loans to $950 million, higher than the $880 million level for FY24 but not at the $1.25 billion provided in FY23 or requested in the FY25 budget. It would keep the Section 502 guaranteed loan program at $25 billion and Section 538 guaranteed multifamily loans at $400 million.

The bill appears to provide no funding at all for Section 516 farmworker housing grants, which are used by nonprofit developers alongside Section 514 loans.

— HAC’s analysis of FY25 appropriations for HUD programs is available here.  —

  —  The House’s HUD bill is expected to be released in late June, shortly before a markup scheduled for June 27.  —

Homeownership Housing

Despite its support for home purchase programs, the House bill would reduce funding for self-help housing, Section 504 home repair loans and grants, and Section 533 Housing Preservation Grants.

Rental Housing

The bill proposes cuts in rental preservation programs, reducing Section 515 loans from $60 million in FY24 to $48 million and the Multifamily Preservation and Revitalization (MPR) program from its current $34 million to $28 million. It shows some support for tenants, however, with Section 521 Rental Assistance funding almost at the level requested by the administration’s budget, an increase in Section 542 vouchers, and continuation of the 1,000-unit demonstration program that decouples Rental Assistance from USDA mortgages reaching the end of their terms.

Energy Efficiency

The House bill would prohibit use of any USDA housing funds to implement a recent determination made jointly by HUD and USDA that would require some federally supported new housing construction, including single-family homes supported by USDA’s Section 502 direct, Section 502 guaranteed, or Section 523 self-help programs, to meet updated energy efficiency standards. The ban, tucked into Section 743 in the bill’s “general provisions,” is reminiscent of an amendment defeated in the Senate in October 2023. That proposed amendment would have prevented HUD implementation of the same energy efficiency standards.

Community Facilities

The bill would cut funding for Community Facilities direct loans by two-thirds, from $2.8 billion in FY24 to $1 billion in FY25.

 

Program
($ in millions)
FY23 Final FY24 Final FY25 Budget FY25 House FY25 Senate(a) FY25 Final(a)
502 SF Direct Loans $1,250 $880 $1,250 $950
     Nat. Amer. SF Demo 7.5 5 7.5 5
502 SF Guar. Loans 30,000 25,000 30,000 25,000
504 VLI Repair Loans 28 25 28 18
504 VLI Repair Grants 32 25 30 (c)
515 MF Direct Loans 70 60 70 48
514 Farm Labor Hsg. Loans 20 15 25 (d)
516 Farm Labor Hsg. Grants 10 7.5 10 0
521 Rental Asst. 1,488 1,608 1,690 1,684
523 Self-Help TA 32 25 32 20
533 Hsg. Prsrv. Grants 16 10 16 (c)
538 MF Guar. Loans 400 400 400 400
542 Vouchers 48 48 38(b) 54
Rental Prsrv. Demo (MPR) 36 34 90 28
Rental Prsrv. TA 2 1 0 0
Rural Cmty. Dev’t Init. 6 5 6 4
Cmty. Facil. Direct Loans 2,800 2,800 1,250 1,000
Cmty. Facil. Grants 25 5 22 (e)
   Tribal Colleges CF Grants 10 8 10 6
   Energy Cmties. Grants 10
Cmty. Facil. Guar. 650 650 650 650

Abbreviations key

  • MF: Multfamily (Rental)
  • SF: Single-Family (Homeownership)
  • TA: Technical Assistance
  • VLI: Very Low-Income

(a) These columns will be filled in as the FY25 funding process progresses.

(b) This $38 million is to renew vouchers already issued. Most tenants in USDA-financed rental properties where mortgages end or are paid off would receive Section 521 Rental Assistance under the Administration’s decoupling proposal. An additional $20 million is included in the HUD tenant protection vouchers account to provide new vouchers for tenants “in USDA properties that are unable to refinance, participate in the multi-family preservation and rehabilitation options, or decouple.”

(c) The House bill provides a total of $20 million for Section 504 repair grants and Section 533 Housing Preservation Grants. It is not clear how the total would be divided between the two programs.

(d) The House bill provides $4.8 million in budget authority for Section 514 loans, but does not indicate the dollar amount of loans expected to be generated.

(e) The amount proposed for Community Facilities grants in the House bill is not clear.

Administration Proposes Small Increases in Many Rural Housing Programs

The Biden Administration’s budget for fiscal year 2025, released on March 11, 2024, would hold funding at FY23 levels for most of USDA’s rural housing programs. In effect, it would restore the cuts made in the final FY24 appropriations bill, which was passed after the budget was prepared. Details are provided in the table below.

The recording and slides from HAC’s March 13 webinar on Rural Housing in the Fiscal Year 2025 White House Budget are posted here.

Homeownership Housing

Like last year’s budget proposal, this year’s would eliminate subsidy “recapture” for the Section 502 direct program. Recapture requires that, when a low- or very low-income homeowner with a Section 502 direct loan sells the house or moves, they must repay the subsidy amounts they have received over the life of the loan. The administration estimates that eliminating this penalty for current borrowers would cost USDA $1.12 billion. It also proposes that Section 502 direct loans made in 2025 will not to be subject to recapture.

The budget would require that funding for housing construction or rehabilitation be targeted to projects that improve energy or water efficiency, implement green features, including clean energy generation or building electrification, electric car charging station installations, or address climate resilience of properties.

The budget also proposes three changes that were just adopted in the final FY24 funding bill, which had not been passed yet when the budget was prepared. These include extending the length of self-help and site-development loans from two years to five, and standardizing foreclosure procedures consistent with HUD’s.

Rental Housing

The administration again asks for legislative language to “decouple” Section 521 Rental Assistance from Section 515 and 514 mortgages, so that when a USDA rental housing mortgage ends for any reason, the tenants can continue to receive Rental Assistance. The final FY24 bill authorized a limited pilot to decouple up to 1,000 units of RA, but the budget does not propose any limits.

The budget requests Section 542 voucher funding be used only to renew “legacy vouchers,” $11.79 million in unobligated voucher funds be rescinded, and $20 million be added to provide HUD tenant protection vouchers for tenants “in USDA properties that are unable to refinance, participate in the multi-family preservation and rehabilitation options, or decouple.”

 

HAC in the News

Rural Veterans and Local Nonprofits Receive Critical Housing Support in partnership with The Home Depot Foundation

Contacts: AHRV Team, ahrv@ruralhome.org
(202) 842-8600

Washington, DC, June 10, 2024 – Veterans and their families in fourteen rural communities will have better lives, thanks to The Home Depot Foundation and the Housing Assistance Council. The Foundation is awarding grants totaling $472,000 to sixteen local nonprofit housing agencies around the country to preserve housing for veterans in rural America.

The grants are part of The Home Depot Foundation’s mission to provide affordable and accessible housing solutions to U.S. veterans and invest $750 million in veteran causes by 2030. Many veterans and their families face major housing challenges, often exacerbated by issues related to unemployment, age, and service-related disabilities. The Home Depot Foundation and the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) are dedicated to giving back to those who have answered the highest call of service to our nation.

As part of its Affordable Housing for Rural Veterans (AHRV) Initiative, HAC works with The Home Depot Foundation to administer grants that bolster and support the work of rural nonprofit housing agencies to deliver critical housing support to veterans. “The Home Depot Foundation’s enduring partnership and support stands as an important pillar in HAC’s ongoing efforts to bolster and grow the capacity of local rural organizations dedicated to providing and preserving decent, safe, and affordable housing options for veterans across rural America.” said David Lipsetz, HAC’s CEO.  As rural America is home to a disproportionately high number of service women and men, HAC remains deeply committed to supporting our nation’s service women and men by uplifting local nonprofits and their work to house veterans and ensure the habitability of their homes and rural communities.

The grantee organizations – described below – provide a range of programs. With the grants, veterans who own homes in California, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Tennessee will obtain critical repair assistance. Altogether, 101 veterans and their families will benefit from these grants.

About The Home Depot Foundation 

The Home Depot Foundation

The Home Depot Foundation, the nonprofit arm of The Home Depot (NYSE: HD), works to improve the homes and lives of U.S. veterans, support communities impacted by natural disasters and train skilled tradespeople to fill the labor gap. Since 2011, the Foundation has invested more than $500 million in veteran causes and improved more than 60,000 veteran homes and facilities. The Foundation has pledged to invest $750 million in veteran causes by 2030 and $50 million in training the next generation of skilled tradespeople through the Path to Pro program by 2028. To learn more about The Home Depot Foundation visit HomeDepotFoundation.organd follow us on Twitter @HomeDepotFound and on Facebook and Instagram @HomeDepotFoundation.

About the Housing Assistance Council

The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) is a national nonprofit that supports affordable housing efforts throughout rural America. Since 1971, HAC has provided below-market financing for affordable housing and community development, technical assistance and training, research and information, and policy formulation to enable solutions for rural communities.

To learn more about the Housing Assistance Council, visit www.ruralhome.org and follow HAC on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter @RuralHome.

About the Grantees


  • Appalachia Service Project, Johnson City, TN, will utilize $30,000 to provide critical repairs for twenty (20) low-income veterans across rural Central Appalachia. For additional information on Appalachia Service Project, visit their website at https://asphome.org/.
  • Chesapeake Health Education Program, Inc., Perryville, MD, will utilize $40,000 to complete repairs on two (2) transitional housing units serving six (6) male veterans in Perry Point, MD. For additional information on Chesapeake Health Education Program, Inc., visit their website at https://www.chepinc.org/.
  • GROW South Dakota, Sisseton, SD, will utilize $30,000 to provide critical home repairs for three (3) rural, low-income veterans in Sisseton, SD. For additional information on GROW South Dakota, visit their website at https://www.growsd.org/.
  • Habitat for Humanity Menominee River, Kingsford, MI, will utilize $30,000 to assist eight (8) veteran households with critical repairs in rural Iron and Dickinson Counties, MI. For additional information on Habitat for Humanity of Menominee River, visit their website at https://habitatmr.com/.
  • Habitat for Humanity of Tulare/Kings Counties, Inc., Visalia, CA, will utilize $30,000 to address critical roof repair and replacement on the homes of three (3) low-income veterans residing in Lemoore, CA. For additional information on Habitat for Humanity of Tulare/Kings Counties, Inc., visit their website at https://www.hfhtkc.org/.
  • Habitat for Humanity of York County, Rock Hill, SC, will utilize $30,000 to address four (4) critical home repair projects located in York County, SC. For additional information on Habitat for Humanity of York County, visit their website at https://yorkcountyhabitat.org/.
  • NeighborWorks Umpqua, Roseburg, OR, will utilize $30,000 to provide ten (10) veterans with critical home repairs and ductless HVAC units in Coos, Curry, and Douglas Counties, OR. For additional information on NeighborWorks Umpqua, visit their website at https://www.nwumpqua.org/.
  • New Foundation Development, Inc., Calhoun, GA, will utilize $30,000 to provide critical repairs and ADA accessibility modifications for three (3) low-income rural veteran homeowners in Resaca and Calhoun, GA. For additional information on New Foundation Development, Inc., visit their website at https://nfdinc.org/.
  • Rebuilding Together Fargo Moorhead Area, Fargo, ND, will utilize $30,000 to support the rehabilitation and modification of three (3) veteran owned units in Cass and Richland Counties, ND, and Clay County, MN. For additional information on Rebuilding Together Fargo Moorhead Area, visit their website at https://rebuildingtogetherfma.org/.
  • Rebuilding Together Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, will utilize $30,000 to provide critical repairs and/or accessibility modifications for four (4) low-income veteran homeowners in Cottonwood, Jackson, Murray, and Nobles Counties, MN. For additional information on Rebuilding Together Minnesota, visit their website at https://rtmn.org/.
  • Rebuilding Together Saratoga County, Ballston Spa, NY, will utilize $30,000 to provide critical repairs and ADA accessibility modifications for four (4) low-income rural veteran homeowners in rural Warren County, NY. For additional information on Rebuilding Together Saratoga County, visit their website at https://www.rtsaratoga.org/
  • Rebuilding Together Southwest Illinois, Edwardsville, IL, will utilize $30,000 to provide wheelchair ramps and related necessary repairs and renovations to at least ten (10) rural owner-occupied homes of disabled veterans in Macoupin and Bond Counties, IL. For additional information on Rebuilding Together Southwest Illinois, visit their website at https://rebuildswi.org/.
  • ReFIT-Remodeling for Independence Together, Lake Oswego, OR, will utilize $27,000 to complete critical home repairs and accessibility modifications on eight (8) low-income Veteran owner-occupied homes, with a focus on rural Clackamas County, OR. For additional information on ReFIT-Remodeling for Independence Together, visit their website at https://refitportland.org/.
  • Transylvania Habitat for Humanity, Brevard, NC, will utilize $15,000 to provide critical repairs and accessibility modifications for at least four (4) low-income rural veteran homeowners in Transylvania County, NC. For additional information on Transylvania Habitat for Humanity, visit their website at https://transylvaniahabitat.org/.
  • WAMY Community Action, Inc., Boone, NC, will utilize $30,000 to provide critical repairs to preserve four (4) low-income rural Veteran owned homes in rural Appalachia. For additional information on WAMY Community Action, Inc., visit their website at  https://wamycommunityaction.org/.

Administration’s Budget Requests Substantial New HUD Funding

The Biden Administration’s budget for fiscal year 2025, released on March 11, 2024, includes proposals for HUD and other housing programs – USDA, the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, and others – that are part of broader Administration efforts to help meet increasing housing costs and address homelessness. If the budget were adopted as proposed, several pieces of this mosaic would be mandatory funding rather than discretionary, and others would be tax credits. Discretionary funds are subject to annual appropriations, while mandatory spending is not, so it is not subject to the caps on discretionary spending imposed by the 2023 debt limit agreement.

Details are provided in the table below.

The recording and slides from HAC’s March 13 webinar on Rural Housing in the Fiscal Year 2025 White House Budget are posted here.

— HAC’s analysis of FY24 appropriations for USDA housing programs is available here. —

Discretionary Funds

The budget would reduce funding for many of HUD’s housing production programs, including HOME, CDBG, SHOP, and Native American housing. It requests a total of $1.053 billion for Native American housing, just barely above the $1.02 billion provided in FY23 and notably lower than the $1.34 billion just adopted for FY24.

Tenant support fares somewhat better. For example, the budget proposes a total of almost $32.8 billion for Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (Housing Choice Vouchers), of which $29.25 billion is intended to renew all existing vouchers. An additional $241 million would provide 20,000 new incremental vouchers. (Separately, the mandatory funding proposals would guarantee vouchers to all extremely low-income veterans and all youth aging out of foster care.)

The budget also requests $30 million for the Recovery Housing Program, which allocates funds to states to provide temporary housing for individuals recovering from substance use disorders, including opioids.

Proposed New Mandatory Spending

The Administration’s proposals for mandatory spending programs cover production of new units, tenant assistance, and homelessness solutions.

  • Extremely low-income housing supply subsidy: $15 billion
    • New Project-Based Rental Assistance: $7.5 billion
    • Preserve distressed public housing: $7.5 billion
  • Innovation Fund for Housing Expansion: $20 billion
  • Housing vouchers for vulnerable low-income populations: $22 billion
    • all youth aging out of foster care: $9 billion
    • extremely low-income veterans: $13 billion
  • First-generation homebuyer down payment assistance: $10 billion
  • Sustainable eviction prevention reform: $3 billion
  • Homelessness grants: $8 billion
  • Emergency rental assistance for older adults at risk of homelessness: $3 billion

Tax Credit Proposals

  • The budget would expand the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit to build or preserve 1.2 million more affordable rental units. It asks Congress to increase per capital credit allocations, reduce the bond financing threshold, and revise the “qualified contract” and “right of first refusal” provisions for future developments.
  • A mortgage relief credit would provide middle-class first-time homebuyers with an annual tax credit of $5,000 a year for two years. The White House says that “this is the equivalent of reducing the mortgage rate by more than 1.5 percentage points for two years on the median home, and will help more than 3.5 million middle-class families purchase their first home over the next two years.”
  • A separate one-year tax credit is intended to assist homeowners who could purchase a larger or more expensive home but hesitate to sell their starter home because of high mortgage rates or high housing costs. A middle-class homeowner would receive a credit up to $10,000 for selling a home below the area median home price in the county to another owner-occupant. The White House estimates this proposal would help nearly 3 million families.
  • A new Neighborhood Homes Tax Credit would allocate credits to developers and other sponsors of new construction or substantial rehabilitation of homeownership units in distressed areas. The White House estimates this would generate over 400,000 homes.

The Administration also proposes requiring each Federal Home Loan Bank to contribute 20 percent, rather than the current 10 percent, of annual income to the Affordable Housing Program. It calculates the change would raise an additional $3.79 billion for affordable housing over the next decade and assist nearly 380,0000 households.

Program
($ in millions)
FY23 Final FY24 Final FY25 Budget FY25 House FY25 Senate* FY25 Final*
CDBG $3,300 $3,300 $2,900
HOME 1,500 1,250 1,250
PRICE Manuf. Hsg. Prsrv. 225 10 0
Self-Help Hmownrshp (SHOP) 13.5 12 9
Veterans Home Rehab 1 0 0
Rural Cap’y Bldg (RCB) 6 6 5
Tenant-Based Rental Asst. 27,600 32,387 32,756
     VASH 50 15 0
     Tribal VASH 7.5 7.5 5
     Replacemts for 521 RA 20**
Project-Based Rental Asst. 13,938 16,010 16,686
Public Hsg. Capital Fund 3,200 3,410 3,312
Public Hsg. Operating Fund 5,109 5,501 5,238
Choice Neighborhd. Initiative 350 75 140
Native Amer. Hsg. 1,020 1,344 1,053
Homeless Asst. Grants 3,633 4,051 4,060
Hsg. Oppties for Persons w/ AIDS (HOPWA) 499 505 505
202 Hsg. for Elderly 1,075 913 931.4
811 Hsg. for Disabled 360 208 256.7
Fair Hsg. 86 86.4 86.4
Healthy Homes & Lead Control 410 345 350
Hsg. Counseling 57.5 57.5 57.5

* These columns will be filled in as the FY25 funding process progresses.

** Up to $20 million would be set aside to provide tenant protection vouchers to tenants who had USDA Section 521 Rental Assistance but are losing it because their building is losing or ending its USDA mortgage.

 

HAC Loan Fund Impact Report for FY 2023

HAC is proud to present our 2023 Loan Fund Impact Report. In fiscal year 2023 (October 2022-September 2023), our Loan Fund provided $31.4 million in financing through 34 loans—including 13 (37%) made to minority-led borrowers—to build, rehabilitate, or preserve 900 affordable homes.

HAC in the News

Rural Veterans and Local Nonprofits Receive Critical Housing Support in partnership with The Home Depot Foundation

Contacts: Dan Stern, dan@ruralhome.org
AHRV Team, ahrv@ruralhome.org
(202) 842-8600

Washington, DC, May 31, 2023 – Veterans and their families in fourteen rural communities will have better lives, thanks to The Home Depot Foundation and the Housing Assistance Council. The Foundation is awarding grants totaling $366,907 to fourteen local nonprofit housing agencies around the country to preserve housing for veterans in rural America.

The grants are part of The Home Depot Foundation’s mission to provide affordable and accessible housing solutions to U.S. veterans and invest $500 million in veteran causes by 2025. Many veterans and their families face major housing challenges, often exacerbated by issues related to unemployment, age, and service-related disabilities. The Home Depot Foundation and the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) are dedicated to giving back to those who have answered the highest call of service to our nation.

As part of its Affordable Housing for Rural Veterans (AHRV) Initiative, HAC works with The Home Depot Foundation to administer grants that bolster and support the work of rural nonprofit housing agencies to deliver critical housing support to veterans. “The Home Depot Foundation’s support remains a cornerstone of HAC’s work to strengthen local organizations that build and maintain homes for veterans across rural America,” said David Lipsetz, HAC’s CEO. “The more we support the local groups that are helping veterans, the more we see veterans and their hometowns thrive.”  As rural America is home to a disproportionately high number of service women and men, HAC remains deeply committed to supporting our nation’s service women and men by uplifting local nonprofits and their work to house and ensure the habitability of their homes and rural communities.

The grantee organizations – described below – provide a range of programs. With the grants, veterans who own homes in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Tennessee will obtain critical repair assistance. Altogether, 43 veterans and their families will benefit from these grants.

About The Home Depot Foundation 

The Home Depot FoundationThe Home Depot Foundationworks to improve the homes and lives of U.S. veterans, support communities impacted by natural disasters and train skilled tradespeople to fill the labor gap. Since 2011, the Foundation has invested more than $475 million in veteran causes and improved more than 55,000 veteran homes and facilities. The Foundation has pledged to invest half of a billion dollars in veteran causes by 2025 and $50 million in training the next generation of skilled tradespeople through the Path to Pro program.

To learn more about The Home Depot Foundation visit  HomeDepotFoundation.org and follow them on Twitter  @HomeDepotFound and on Facebook and Instagram  @HomeDepotFoundation.

About the Housing Assistance Council

The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) is a national nonprofit that supports affordable housing efforts throughout rural America. Since 1971, HAC has provided below-market financing for affordable housing and community development, technical assistance and training, research and information, and policy formulation to enable solutions for rural communities.

To learn more about the Housing Assistance Council, visit www.ruralhome.org and follow HAC on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter @RuralHome.

About the Grantees

  • Creative Compassion, Inc., Crossville, TN, will utilize $22,500 to provide needed critical repairs for three (3) rural, low-income veterans in Crossville and Jamestown, TN. For additional information on Creative Compassion, Inc., visit their website at https://ccihomes.org/.
  • Good Works, Inc., Coatesville, PA, will utilize $30,000 to provide critical repairs to the homes of two (2) low-income rural veterans in Coatesville, PA. For additional information on Good Works, Inc., visit their website at https://www.goodworksinc.org/.
  • GROW South Dakota, Sisseton, SD, will utilize $30,000 to provide critical repairs for three (3) rural, low-income veterans in Sisseton, SD. For additional information on GROW SD, visit their website at https://www.growsd.org/.
  • Habitat for Humanity of Hillsborough County, Tampa, FL, will utilize $30,000 to provide critical roof replacement and new roof installation to the homes of two (2) low-income rural veterans in rural Hillsborough County, FL. For additional information on Habitat for Humanity of Hillsborough County, visit their website at https://www.habitathillsborough.org/
  • Habitat for Humanity of South-Central New Jersey, Maple Shade, NJ, will utilize $20,000 to provide critical home repairs for three (3) rural low-income veterans. For additional information on Habitat for Humanity of South-Central New Jersey, visit their website at https://www.habitatscnj.org/.
  • Habitat for Humanity of York County, Rock Hill, SC, will utilize $10,000 to support critical repairs and accessibility modifications for one (1) rural low-income veteran. For additional information on Habitat for Humanity of York County, visit their website at https://yorkcountyhabitat.org/.
  • Habitat for Humanity Susquehanna, Bel Air, MD, will utilize $16,157 to support critical repairs and accessibility modifications for one (1) rural low-income veteran in Elkton, MD. For additional information on Habitat for Humanity Susquehanna, visit their website at https://habitatsusq.org/.
  • New Foundation Development, Inc., Calhoun, GA, will utilize $28,250 to provide critical repairs and ADA accessibility modifications for three (3) low-income rural veteran homeowners in Resaca and Calhoun, GA. For additional information on New Foundation Development, Inc., visit their website at https://nfdinc.org/.
  • Pensacola Habitat for Humanity, Pensacola, FL, will utilize $30,000 to provide critical home repairs for two (2) rural low-income veterans. For additional information on Pensacola Habitat for Humanity, visit their website at https://pensacolahabitat.org/.
  • Rebuilding Together Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, will utilize $30,000 to support the rehabilitation and modification of four (4) veteran owned units. For additional information on Rebuilding Together Minnesota, visit their website at https://rtmn.org/
  • Rebuilding Together Saratoga County, Ballston Spa, NY, will utilize $30,000 to provide critical repairs and ADA accessibility modifications for four (4) low-income rural veteran homeowners. For additional information on Rebuilding Together Saratoga County, visit their website at https://www.rtsaratoga.org/
  • Red Feather Development Group, Flagstaff, AZ, will utilize $30,000 to provide critical home repairs for four (4) rural low-income Native American veterans. For additional information on Red Feather Development Group, visit their website at https://www.redfeather.org/.
  • Swift County Rural Development Authority, Benson, MN, will utilize $30,000 to provide critical repairs, roof, plumbing, HVAC unit and water heater for one (1) very low-income veteran homeowner in Clontarf, MN. For additional information on Swift County Rural Development Authority, visit their website at https://www.swiftcounty.com/hra.
  • Transylvania Habitat for Humanity, Brevard, NC, will utilize $30,000 to provide critical repairs and accessibility modifications for ten (10) low-income rural veteran homeowners. For additional information on Transylvania Habitat for Humanity, visit their website at https://transylvaniahabitat.org/.
HAC in the News

HAC receives $6,325,000 from HUD to invest in rural communities and rural housing

Contact: Dan Stern, dan@ruralhome.org
(202) 516-6882

Washington, DC, May 15, 2023 – The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) has been awarded a total of $6,325,000 funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to invest in the capacity of rural communities and help rural families achieve homeownership. HAC was awarded $4,000,000 from the Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP) and $2,325,000 in Rural Capacity Building (RCB) funding. The funds represent a portion of HUD’s $22 million investment into rural communities through the SHOP and RCB programs.

The funding was announced in conjunction with an event in Russellville, AR at which HUD Deputy Secretary Adrianne Todman toured several homes that are being built using funds from HAC’s SHOP program with local partner Universal Housing Development Corporation.

HUD’s official press release announcing the award included the following statement from Secretary Marcia L. Fudge “Today, we are investing in homeownership and expanding access to affordable housing to rural communities. The SHOP program provides a unique pathway for first-time homeowners and underserved groups to buy a home. At HUD, we care about rural America and these capacity building grants are further evidence of our commitment.”

SHOP funding will allow rural homebuyers to invest their sweat equity and hard work towards the construction of their own homes in rural communities. HAC will use its RCB funding to assist a group of eligible rural organizations to undertake affordable housing and community development activities in disadvantaged and other target communities around the country.

“HAC’s decades long partnership with HUD has provided affordable homes for people and increased capacity for organizations in rural communities across the United States,” said David Lipsetz, President & CEO of the Housing Assistance Council. “These awards will improve the lives of countless rural people and highlight HUD’s commitment to rural America!”

About the SHOP Program

The Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP) awards grant funds to eligible national and regional nonprofit organizations and consortia. Funds must be used for eligible expenses to develop decent, safe, and sanitary non-luxury housing for low-income persons and families who otherwise would not become homeowners. Examples are for purchasing home sites and developing or improving the infrastructure needed to set the stage for sweat equity and volunteer-based homeownership programs for low-income persons and families. Homebuyers must be willing to contribute significant amounts of their own sweat equity toward the construction or rehabilitation of their homes.

About the RCB Program

The Rural Capacity Building (RCB) program enhances the capacity and ability of rural housing development organizations, Community Development Corporations (CDCs), Community Housing Development Organizations (CHDOs), local governments, and Indian tribes to carry out affordable housing and community development activities in rural areas for the benefit of low- and moderate-income families and persons. The Rural Capacity Building program achieves this by funding national organizations with expertise in rural housing and rural community development who work directly to build the capacity of eligible beneficiaries.

About the Housing Assistance Council

The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) is a national nonprofit that supports affordable housing efforts throughout rural America. Since 1971, HAC has provided below-market financing for affordable housing and community development, technical assistance and training, research and information, and policy formulation to enable solutions for rural communities.

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HAC President & CEO, David Lipsetz, testifies in front of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development

HAC’s CEO Testifies to Senate Banking Subcommittee on Rural Housing Reforms

HAC was honored to be invited to testify on May 2, 2023 before the Housing, Transportation, and Community Development Subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs to discuss commonsense, bipartisan reforms to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing Service (RHS) programs. HAC’s President & CEO, David Lipsetz, was one of five witnesses on the hearing panel.

The hearing was held to discuss the bipartisan Rural Housing Service Reform Act of 2023, which has been introduced by Subcommittee Chairwoman Tina Smith (D-MN) and Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD). The RHS Reform Act includes a slate of provisions to improve the multifamily, single-family, and capacity building programs at RHS. Senators Smith and Rounds engaged deeply with stakeholders on the creation of the bill, including offering a call for policy recommendations in the summer of 2022. HAC’s response to that comment opportunity can be seen here. We were thrilled to see many of our recommendations included in the bill, and applaud Senators Smith and Rounds on their thoughtful engagement with stakeholders and their commitment to improving the RHS programs.

Highlights from the RHS Reform Act include:

  • Multifamily

    • Authorizing the Multifamily Preservation and Revitalization (MPR) program and Multifamily Preservation Technical Assistance Program
    • Allowing for the decoupling of a Section 515 mortgage and Section 521 Rental Assistance
    • Allowing Section 542 rural vouchers to be adjusted based on changes in tenant income
    • Streamlining the process for Section 515 nonprofit transfers and increasing the Section 515 nonprofit set aside
  • Single Family

    • Establishing the Native CDFI Section 502 relending program
    • Increasing the threshold for the mortgage requirement on a Section 504 home rehab loan from $7,500 to $15,000
    • Extending the loan term for a Section 502 loan up to 40 years
  • Capacity Building

    • Authorizing the Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) and waiving the matching funds requirement for groups working in areas of persistent poverty
    • Requiring RHS to publish more data on their housing programs
    • Authorizing funding for much needed technology upgrades at RHS
Watch the Recording Read David’s Testimony HAC’s 2023 Policy Priorities
HAC in the News

Advocates eye farm bill to avert drop in affordable rural housing – CQ Roll Call

Posted April 11, 2023 at 5:00am

Housing advocates are turning to this year’s farm bill in an effort to steer rural communities away from an affordable housing cliff ahead.

Without action from Congress, rural communities stand to lose more than 100,000 affordable rental units in the next decade as federally subsidized loans used to build the apartments are paid off, ending landlords’ obligations to keep rents low. In a second blow for those renters, they will lose their eligibility for the Agriculture Department’s rental assistance.

“It’s a big problem, and it’s going to only get worse,” said Sarah Saadian, senior vice president of public policy at the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

“The heyday or the peak of rural housing was in the ’70s and ’80s, when their rental housing program was nearly a billion-dollar program, and it’s been cut really dramatically over the last several decades,” Saadian said in an interview. “All of those properties that were built at that time are now reaching the end of the maturity on their 515 mortgage, or the 515 loans that USDA provides in order to get those properties built.”

Advocates are pushing Congress to include provisions in the farm bill that would decouple the two programs, allowing the Agriculture Department to provide rental assistance even after a building’s owner has paid off the subsidized mortgage.


“The biggest issue in rural housing is the rapid loss of the 515 units due to mortgage maturity, prepayments, foreclosures. That is the 800-pound gorilla, or really the $31 billion gorilla over the next 30 years to preserve.”

Policy News from Congress

HAC’s Research Director Testifies to Senate Banking Committee on the State of Housing 2023

HAC was deeply honored by an invitation to testify at the first hearing held in the new 118th Congress by the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee. Titled The State of Housing 2023, the session featured Lance George, HAC’s Director of Research and Information, as one of  three witnesses.

A wide range of topics was covered by the witnesses’ testimony and the Senators’ questions. Among the key areas of concern were the gap between housing supply and need, the high cost of both homeownership and rental housing, and what congressional actions could address these challenges. Committee Chair Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) asked specifically about the loss of rentals financed by USDA’s Section 515 program, a serious concern addressed by HAC research in 2016 and 2022.

Key Takeaways

Lance’s statement made five key points about the state of rural housing in 2023:

  • The pandemic left its mark on rural America and housing markets remain uncertain.
  • Rural mortgage markets are being impacted by interest rates and prices too.
  • Affordability is the greatest housing challenge in rural America, by far.
  • Manufactured housing is an often overlooked but important source of housing – especially in rural America.
  • Race matters across the rural spectrum – especially in housing.

Key policy recommendations, based on HAC’s full set of policy priorities for 2023, included:

  • Increase rural communities’ access to credit and capital and strengthen USDA and HUD homeownership supports.
  • Improve opportunities and financing for preserving aging rental properties and protecting tenants.
  • Authorize the powerful Rural Community Development Initiative and a significant cross-sectoral, flexible capacity building rural investment initiative.

Lance George

Lance George

HAC’s Director of Research & Information

Watch the Hearing