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Congress Deals Rural Housing Organizations a Mixed Hand

PRESS RELEASE Contact: Bob Rapoza National Rural Housing Coalition 1331 G St NW, 10th Floor Washington, DC  20005 Phone: (202) 393-5225 Fax (202) 393-3034 Congress holds on passing rural housing funding, despite strong indications for the need and history of strong bipartisan support Washington, D.C. -- October 1, 2018 -- On Friday, the House of Representatives adjourned to focus on the midterm elections, while the Senate stays behind to continue working on nominations. The National Rural Housing Coalition (NRHC) lamented Congress’ inability to work out issues in H.R. 6147, which includes U.S. Department of Agriculture funding, as well as Interior, Treasury, Transportation and HUD. While the unresolved issues did not involve USDA Rural Housing appropriations, it still leaves funding up in the air for these important programs until at least mid-November. However, the Coalition was pleased with a new Senate bill proposing the single largest investment in rural housing programs, which was introduced last week by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). “We are in the middle of a rural housing crisis with only about 10 percent of new homes being built in rural areas, leaving unaffordable, aged and increasingly decrepit housing as the only options for rural Americans,” said Bob Rapoza, executive secretary of the National Rural Housing Coalition. “Congress needs to make more investments and ensure that USDA rural housing are secure and fully funded.” The rental housing financed by USDA, mostly through its Section 515 Rural Rental Housing program, is often the only affordable housing in small towns and farming communities. According to a 2016 USDA report, the cost to preserve and maintain this portfolio of some 450,000 units over 20 years totals $5.6 billion. The majority of residents at these developments are low income and most are elderly households. “Rural Americans were some of those hardest hit by the Great Recession and with a lack of decent, safe, and affordable rural housing they are now being left behind from its recovery,” said Rapoza. “The lack of decent housing is increasingly an obstacle to economic growth for rural communities, causing businesses to locate elsewhere and perpetuating high out-migration from communities already struggling to attract a high-skilled workforce.” The Wall Street Journal reported on this very issue in May. In an article titled, “Rural America Has Jobs. Now It Just Needs Housing,” the author noted that due to a lack of housing in rural areas, employers with available jobs could...
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Neighbors build each other’s homes in Wasco

ABOVE: Edgar and Naomi Bermudez shuffle rock that will be used for the foundation of their new home in Wasco. Dozens of families in Wasco are building new homes for each other, taking part in a program funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and guided by the nonprofit, Self Help Enterprises. The new homeowners don’t need a dollar for a down payment. Instead, they are required to do 40 hours of work on the home every week. The development in Wasco consists of 33 homes, with 10-12 in each of three waves. Learn more from KBAK/KBFX in...
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Self-Help Homes groundbreaking in Provo, UT

Construction begins for seven families in Provo, Utah. Project supported by Self-Help Homes. FULL STORY: Seven families in Southern Utah are anxious to get started on what will be their new homes. A groundbreaking ceremony in LaVerkin last Wednesday turned over shovels of dirt, that will soon become a foundation. Four of the new homes will be built in LaVerkin and the other three in Toquerville. The families are part of Self-Help Homes. They all received low interest loans from the government to build each others homes. The program is growing in Southern Utah as word continues to get...
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Dear Colleague: Support Adequate Funding for USDA Rural Housing Service in the FY19 Budget

Congressmen Sean Duffy (R-WI) and Jim Costa (D-CA) are leading a Dear Colleague in support of USDA Rural Housing programs. Below, find the letter. Support Adequate Funding for USDA Rural Housing Service in the FY19 Budget DEADLINE: March 12, 2018 Dear Colleague, Please join Representatives Sean Duffy and Jim Costa in sending the following letter to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies to respectfully request adequate funding for United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Housing and water sewer programs. USDA Rural Housing programs provide a critical lifeline to low-income, rural families. Through low-cost loans, grants, and other assistance, USDA programs improve housing conditions and quality of life in rural America. For example Section 502 Direct Loan Program, which has helped more than 2.1 million families realize the American Dream and build their wealth by more than $40 billion, is the only federal homeownership program that exclusively targets low- and very-low income rural families. The program provides essential funding to fill in the gap in the private market, allowing families who would otherwise be unable to access affordable mortgage credit achieve homeownership. The Section 523 Mutual Self-Help Housing program is another critical component of USDA’s Rural Housing initiatives. Self-Help Housing, which celebrated its 50 year anniversary and 50,000th family served in 2015, is the only federal program that combines “sweat equity” homeownership opportunities with technical assistance and affordable loans for some of America’s neediest rural families. Rural water –sewer loans and grants are essential for building communities. Our rural communities are in dire need of affordable, livable housing. Please join us in supporting rural districts all over the country by signing this letter. Please contact Ryan McCormack in Rep. Duffy’s office (Ryan.McCormack@mail.house.gov) or Ben Goldeen in Rep. Costa’s office (Ben.Goldeen@mail.house.gov) if you would like to sign or have further questions. Support Adequate Funding for USDA Rural Housing Service in the FY19 Budget Sending Office: Honorable Sean P. Duffy Sent By: Ryan.McCormack@mail.house.gov Support Adequate Funding for USDA Rural Housing Service in the FY19 Budget DEADLINE: March 12, 2018 Dear Colleague, Please join Representatives Sean Duffy and Jim Costa in sending the following letter to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies to respectfully request adequate funding for United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Housing and water sewer programs. USDA Rural Housing programs...
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FY 2019 Appropriations Request Forms

Below are appropriations request forms for FY 2019: FY 2019 Self-Help Approps Request Form FY 2019 MPR Approps Request Form FY19 DOL Approps Request Form FY 2019 Section 516-514 Approps Request Form FY 2019 Section 515 Rural Rental Housing Loans Approps Request Form FY 2019 Section 502 Approps Request...
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