In 1969 a group of concerned rural community activists, public officials, and non-profit developers formed the National Rural Housing Coalition (NRHC) to fight for better housing and community facilities for low-income rural people. Today, NRHC is still on the job in the nation’s capital promoting and defending the principle that rural people have the right, regardless of income, to a decent place to live or an affordable home, clean drinking water, and basic community services.
NRHC’s Role – An Effective Advocate
National Rural Housing Coalition works to focus policy makers on the needs of rural areas by direct advocacy and by coordinating a network of rural housing advocates around the nation. NRHC sponsors regular conferences at which specific policies and legislative proposals are developed. Over the years, NRHC was worked to:
- Analyze federal policies and programs in light of the need for better housing and community facilities in rural America.
- Design new programs and improve existing programs to better serve the rural poor. For example, NRHC successfully fought for programs that would provide rental assistance, to preserve rental housing units for low-income families, to promote self-help housing, and for new funding for home repair.
- Ensure adequate funding levels for rural housing programs. Although funding today is by no means adequate, NRHC has played a key role in defending rural housing programs against the even more extreme cuts suffered by many other social programs.
- Promote a non-profit delivery system for rural housing and community development programs. NRHC led the fight to increase funding for self-help housing grants, farm worker housing programs, and rural community assistance programs administered by non-profits.
National Rural Housing Coalition is supported entirely by donations, contributions and subscriptions. Four funds have been established to which organizations with special interest can contribute:
- The Self-Help Housing Fund supports NRHC’s work to assure continuation of the self-help technical assistance program of RHS.
- The Farm Worker Housing Fund supports NRHC’s work to promote better housing for migrant and seasonal farm workers.
- The Rural Community Assistance Fund promotes reform of RHS’s rural water/sewer program and improved availability of grant funds to help rural communities address their water and waste disposal problems.
- The HUD Task Force works on important issues related programs administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The task force is monitoring rural participation in rural programs, HUD funding for rural housing and community economic development and policies on regionalization and comprehensive plans.