This report documents both the substantial contributions that federal rural housing programs have made to improving housing conditions in rural America and the challenges to preserving and maintaining these gains in an era of federal budget austerity.
Although the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) is widely considered one of the nation’s most successful federal housing programs, many lawmakers and advocates are unaware of the program’s critical impact in rural communities. Since its inception in 1986, LIHTC has financed the development and preservation of more than 270,000 units of affordable rental housing.
The purpose of this report is to document successful federal strategies for providing affordable housing to low-income rural families. Because homeownership is the predominate form of housing in rural America, this report focuses on homeownership programs administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) through its Rural Housing Service (RHS). In particular, this report analyzes the impact of the Section 502 Direct Loan program and the Section 523 Mutual Self-Help Housing program. By examining the successful track records of these programs, and by adopting practical measures to expand and improve their performance, our nation can better address the unique housing challenges in rural America.
Recent News Articles
September 11, 2013 – VTDigger discusses the impact of the Rural Definition issue in Colchester, Essex, and Milton, Vermont.
September 9, 2013 – North Dakota State Director Jasper Schneider knows that USDA Rural Housing programs are often the only source of affordable housing in smaller communities.
September 9, 2013 – Alaska Business Monthly and other publications quote USDA State Director Jim Norland on the impact of the rural definition issue. “The areas being eliminated are still rural by any common sense point of view,” he said.
September 5, 2013 – The Fresno Bee talks to NRHC Member Tom Collishaw with Self-Help Enterprises about the impact of the Rural Definition issue in California.
August 30, 2013 – Residents of Chambersburg, PA will lose their eligibility for USDA Rural Housing programs, unless Congress extends the rural definition.
August 26, 2013 – KFVS Channel 12 in Illinois explains how the rural definition will impact their state.
August 21, 2013 – The Twin Cities Daily Planet quotes NRHC member Chip Halbach at the Minnesota Housing Partnership about the low-income families in their state that will lose their USDA Rental Assistance due to sequestration budget cuts.
July 16, 2013 – MSNBC warns that because of sequestration,15,000 rural residents may lose their rental assistance.
July 8, 2013 – The Crossville Chronicle highlights the Self-Help Housing program at the Crossville Housing Authority in Tennessee.
June 28, 2013 – The Davis family in Old Orchard Beach, Maine celebrated Homeownership Month in their new home, financed with a USDA Section 502 Guaranteed Loan.
June 21, 2013 – Bob Rapoza was featured on Wisconsin Public Radio about the importance of investing in USDA Rural Housing programs.
May 7, 2013 – NRHC Member Little Dixie Community Action Agency recently completed construction on 82 homes, built under their Self-Help Housing program.
April 19, 2013 – Sen. Pat Roberts and Sen. Tim Johnson introduce legislation to preserve access to USDA Rural Housing programs.
April 15, 2013 – Bob Rapoza was quoted in the Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch, arguing that the President’s FY14 Budget skewers Rural Development programs. A copy of NRHC’s Press Release can be found here.
December 19, 2012 - Scott McReynolds of the Housing Development Alliance was featured on WYMT TV as the organization completed their 178th home – just in time for the Campbell family to move in before Christmas.