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Ask Your Senators To Support USDA Rural Housing Funding

Sen. Schumer (D-NY) released a Dear Colleague Letter asking fellow Senators to join him in urging the Senate Appropriations Committee to fund critical USDA Rural Housing programs! Please CALL YOUR SENATORS TODAY and ask them to (1) Sign the Schumer Dear Colleague Letter and (2) Submit an Appropriations Request for these programs! Senators can sign on by contacting Lane Bodian (Lane_Bodian@schumer.senate.gov) by March 24. Resources The Schumer Dear Colleague letter can be found here. NRHC’s Appropriations Request Spreadsheet is here. NRHC’s List of Senate Targets is here. Sample Script When you call your Senators’ office: “Hi, my name is [name] and I am with [organization] and I live/work in your district. I’d like to speak with the Senator’s staffer who handles Agriculture or Housing issues.” Once you are connected to the right staffer: “Hi, I’m [name] and I work with [organization] that serve your district. I’m calling because I want to ask the Senator to sign onto a Dear Colleague Letter from Sen. Schumer in support of funding for USDA Rural Housing programs. These programs are critical to the work we do in your state to help low-income rural families find affordable rental housing or to become homeowners. I would also like to ask the Senator to submit an appropriations request to support these programs.” Other tips: Give an example of how you use USDA Rural Housing programs. For example, how much USDA funding did you help families secure last year? How many families became homeowners? How many units of affordable rental housing did you build or preserve? Email them a copy of the Schumer Dear Colleague Letter and NRHC’s Appropriations Request Spreadsheet. Use NRHC Fact Sheets to get more information on USDA Rural Housing programs. Let NRHC know which offices you contacted by emailing Sarah Mickelson (Sarah AT Rapoza DOT Org), so that we can follow up with them. Congressional Targets You can find a complete list of NRHC Senate Targets and their staff is here. To find your Senator’s phone number for their D.C. Office, you can call the Capitol Switchboard at...
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2014 NRHC Budget Bulletins

January 6, 2014 – Tell President Obama to Make Rural Housing A Priority January 9, 2014 – Tomorrow is the Deadline to Tell President Obama to Make Rural Housing a Priority January 13, 2014 – Announcing NRHC’s 2014 Board of Directors January 14, 2014 – FY14 Omnibus Advances January 15, 2014 – FY14 HUD Budget January 28, 2014 – Farm Bill Agreement Includes “Rural Definition” Provision January 29, 2014 – House Passes Farm Bill with “Rural Definition” Provision February 4, 2014 – Senate Passes Farm Bill with “Rural Definition” Provision February 24, 2014 – CDBG, Tax Reform, FY15 Appropriations March 4, 2014 – USDA Plan to Implement “Rural Definition” March 4, 2014 No. 2 – President’s FY15 Budget: Race To The Bottom March 12, 2014 – Ask Your Representatives to Support Rural Housing March 14, 2014 – House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Hearing March 20, 2014 – Call Your Senators and Representatives March 27, 2014 – Deadline Tomorrow! Please Call Your Representatives March 28, 2014 – Senate Deadline is Less Than 1 Week Away March 31, 2014 – 78 Representatives Sign “Dear Colleague” Letter April 3, 2014 – Sign NRHC’s Petition April 4, 2014 – House Subcommittee Hearing, NRHC Launches Petition May 6, 2014 – “Rural Definition” Milestone, House THUD Subcommittee May 19, 2014 – House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Markup May 23, 2014 – Senate Appropriations Committee Markup May 30, 2014 – House Appropriations Committee Markup June 25, 2014 – Advocating for Rural Housing Programs at Home June 30, 2014 – NRHC Releases New Report, Launches Social Media Campaign July 9, 2014 – Senate Confirms Castro as HUD Secretary August 14, 2014 – Register TODAY for NRHC’s Social Media Webinar August 20, 2014 – “Rural Definition” Victory August 26, 2014 – Spending Down Section 502 Direct Funding August 27, 2014 – “Rural Definition” Update: Rural In Character September 8, 2014 – NRHC Launches its 2014 Impact Survey September 10, 2014 – Senate Confirmation Hearing: Lisa Mensah September 17, 2014 – Bipartisan Housing Summit, Congress Enacts Continuing Resolution September 25, 2014 – Congress Extends Rural Definition Through CR October 1, 2014– Reminder: 2014 Impact Surveys Due Monday, October 6 October 6, 2014– Survey Deadline Extended to Friday, October 10 October 27, 2014 – USDA Leaves $100 Million in Rural Housing Funds On The Table, NRHC Board Nominations December 4, 2014 – Tell the President to Make Rural Housing A Priority! December 8, 2014 – Update on Hinojosa Letter to President Obama December 9, 2014 – Call Your Representatives Today and Tomorrow December 10, 2014 – Congress Reaches an FY15 Budget...
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Support Funding for USDA Rural Housing Programs

Last week, Rep. Hinojosa (D-TX) and Sean Duffy (R-WI) released a bipartisan Dear Colleague Letter asking Members of Congress to join them in urging the House Appropriations Committee to fund critical USDA Rural Housing programs! Please CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVES TODAY and ask them to (1) Sign the Hinojosa/Duffy Dear Colleague Letter and (2) Submit an Appropriations Request for these programs! The deadline for Representatives to sign on has been extended to March 18, and they can contact Fernando Ruiz (Fernando.Ruiz@mail.house.gov) in Hinojosa’s office to sign on. The deadline for Representatives to submit their electronic Appropriations Requests is March 23. Resources The Hinojosa/Duffy Dear Colleague letter can be found here. NRHC’s Appropriations Request Spreadsheet is here. NRHC’s List of Congressional Targets is here. Sample Script When you call you Representative’s office: “Hi, my name is [name] and I am with [organization] and I live/work in your district. I’d like to speak with the Representative’s staffer who handles Agriculture or Housing issues.” Once you are connected to the right staffer: “Hi, I’m [name] and I work with [organization] that serve your district. I’m calling because I want to ask the Representative to sign onto a bipartisan Dear Colleague Letter from Rep. Duffy and Rep. Hinojosa in support of funding for USDA Rural Housing programs. These programs are critical to the work we do you in the district to help low-income rural families find affordable rental housing or to become homeowners. I would also like to ask the Representative to submit an appropriations request to support these programs.” Other tips: Give an example of how you use USDA Rural Housing programs. For example, how much USDA funding did you help families secure last year? How many families became homeowners? How many units of affordable rental housing did you build or preserve? Email them a copy of the Hinojosa/Duffy Dear Colleague Letter and NRHC’s Appropriations Request Spreadsheet. Use NRHC Fact Sheets to get more information on USDA Rural Housing programs. Let NRHC know which offices you contacted by emailing Sarah Mickelson (Sarah AT Rapoza DOT Org), so that we can follow up with them. Congressional Targets You can find a complete list of NRHC’s Congressional Targets and their staff contacts here. To find your Representative’s phone number for their D.C. Office, follow this link to the U.S. House of Representatives...
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Housing and Community Development Organizations Boosted the Rural Economy by $380 Million and 40,000 Jobs in 2013

Today, the National Rural Housing Coalition (NRHC) published a new report, “Impact Report: The Economic and Human Impact of Nonprofit Organizations on Rural America,” summarizing the results of its annual survey of over 100 rural housing and community development organizations. The report estimates that in 2013 alone, nonprofit organizations generated $380 million in economic activity and created over 40,000 jobs in rural communities. “This report documents not only the broad economic and human impact of nonprofit housing and community development organizations, but also the critical role of federal programs—particularly those administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)—in improving the quality of life in rural America,” said Bob Rapoza, executive secretary of the coalition. According to the report, rural housing organizations secured $1.3 billion in low-cost mortgages in 2013 to help rural families build, purchase or rehabilitate 8,800 units of affordable housing. The most significant source of this financing was the USDA direct homeownership loan program, which has helped more than 2.1 million rural families become homeowners over the past 50 years. It is also one of most cost-effective federal housing programs; in 2014, each loan cost the government about $3,000 over the entire lifetime of the loan. “With this program, rural housing organizations can bring hope to underserved, rural communities, one family at a time. No other federal housing program can achieve the same results at such a low cost,” explained NRHC board president, Tom Carew. Despite the program’s successful track record and strong bipartisan support in Congress, the Obama Administration has proposed significant cuts to the program in recent years. USDA proposed cutting funding by more than 60 percent in 2014 from $900 million to $360 million. Moreover, the Department failed to spend $100 million in program funding as of year’s end. NRHC and others concerned about the lack of affordable housing in rural communities assert that USDA did not process applications in a timely fashion and that demand for rural housing assistance remains high. Rapoza urges USDA to make rural housing programs and the nonprofit organizations that use them a higher priority. “Nonprofit organizations have proven their ability to stretch limited federal dollars to make a real impact in rural America,” said Rapoza. “Given tight budgets, Congress and Administration should bolster rural communities by supporting these organizations—and the important programs they use—instead of reducing...
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USDA Leaves $100 Million In Rural Affordable Housing Funds on the Table

On Monday, October 27, NRHC delivered a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack, criticizing the Department’s failure to spend $100 million in program funding that aims to help families in rural America obtain and improve affordable housing. NRHC asserts that demand for rural housing assistance remains high, but USDA did not process applications in a timely fashion. “In this extremely tight budget environment, more than 1,000 families living in small, rural communities will not receive housing assistance authorized by Congress. Who could argue that rural housing conditions are so good or rural economies so strong that an injection of mortgage funds is not needed?” said Bob Rapoza, executive secretary of the National Rural Housing Coalition. USDA also left unspent one-third of the funds appropriated by Congress for the Mutual Self-Help Housing program. This program helps rural families who come together on nights and weekends to build their own homes. Their sweat equity lowers housing costs by an average of $25,000 per home and helps these families build wealth. The Department also imposed a 10 percent reduction on all program grants, yet at the end of the fiscal year more than enough money was available to fully fund those grants. NRHC contends that the only result of this policy was a downgrading of a very important and successful program. “In recent years, we have been dismayed by USDA management of rural housing programs in general and especially, the delivery of Section 502 Direct Homeownership Loans and Mutual and Self Help Housing grants,” said Rapoza. “We are extremely disappointed. Rural America deserves better treatment from this...
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