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Blog Budget

FY 2019 Appropriations Request Forms

Below are appropriations request forms for FY 2019:

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Blog

New Census Report on 2015 Poverty and Income Highlights the Urban/Rural Divide

Today, the US Census Bureau released their annual report on poverty and income. Economists predicted an increase of 1 to 2 percent in incomes in 2015, but the report showed a surprising 5.2 percent increase. A closer look at the data reveals a stark contrast between the economy in urban and rural communities.

Urban Areas on the Rise

Over the past 8 years, rural and urban economies have generally exhibited similar economic trends. However, in 2015, there was a sharp divergence (click to enlarge).
Over the past 8 years, rural and urban economies have generally exhibited similar economic trends. However, in 2015, there was a sharp divergence (click to enlarge).

Inside of metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), median incomes grew by 6 percent. Much of that growth was confined to cities dwellers, whose incomes rose by 7.3 percent compared to suburban and exurban residents, whose incomes rose by a more modest 4 percent. This is the largest increase in median income since before the Great Recession.

The poverty rate declined in MSAs, dropping from 14.4 percent in 2014 to 13.0 in 2015. Inside MSA cities, poverty dropped sharply, from 18.9 percent in 2014 to 16.8 percent in 2015, and in the surrounding suburbs, it dropped from 11.8 percent in 2014 to 10.8 percent in 2015.

Rural Communities Continue to Stagnate

In 2015, rural* median incomes declined by 2 percent, which is just inside of the margin of error.  Poverty remained stagnant, increasing a statistically insignificant 0.2 percent in 2015 and settling at 16.7 percent.

Regardless of whether the decline in rural economic conditions was statistically significant in 2015, it is clear that rural communities were left behind last year as our economy continued to grow modestly. Rural mortality and out-migration continues to hinder growth in small towns and farming communities. In fact, the number of rural residents living in poverty actually declined by about 10 percent, from 8.2 million in 2014 to 7.4 million in 2015, but because of population loss, this decline was not reflected in an accompanying decline in the overall poverty rate.

*Includes both micropolitan statistical areas and territory outside of metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas

Crossposted at the National Rural Housing Coalition

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Blog Resources Spotlight

Report: Reflecting on 50 Years of Success

Fifty Years of Self-Help HousingThroughout rural America communities confront the lack of safe and affordable housing. Rural communities have less access to affordable credit options and lower incomes, which in turn leads to increased instances of persistent poverty. Additionally, many rural communities face substandard housing and lack of plumbing. Because of these issues, rural Americans are often unable to find or afford decent housing.

The goal of this report is to recognize and commemorate the 50th anniversary and 50,000th home built through the Section 523 Mutual Self-Help Housing Program. This program is designed to assist eligible families in achieving their dreams of homeownership. Administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the program teams together families who work together to build each other’s homes. All self-help homes are designed to be both affordable and safe, ranging in size and structure to accommodate different family needs. The Mutual Self-Help Program serves as an essential tool for rural Americans to achieve affordable homeownership, and improving the quality of life in rural areas.

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Key Issues Legislation

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 202-224-3121.

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Key Issues

2014 NRHC Budget Bulletins

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Legislation

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 website.

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Blog Uncategorized

Housing and Community Development Organizations Boosted the Rural Economy by $380 Million and 40,000 Jobs in 2013

Press Release Infographicv2Today, 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 them.”

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Uncategorized

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 Administration.”

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Blog

HAC Conference: 502 Packaging Training

For those of you attending HAC’s Rural Housing Conference this December!

This year, HAC is offering a three-day advanced course covering USDA Rural Development’s Section 502 Direct Loan Program at the December Conference. The course provides invaluable insight as to how this homeownership financing resource can be utilized. Learn how to assist potential borrowers and work in partnership with RD staff, as well as other nonprofit organizations and regional intermediaries to deliver successful Section 502 loan packages. This course is intended for and specifically framed for those experienced in utilizing Section 502 and other affordable mortgage products. Participants will learn regulations and practical applications of the loan program, while developing a strong understanding of 502 direct underwriting and packaging standards. Following the course, participants are encouraged to take the online packaging exam. Plan to arrive on Monday, December 1st as class begins at 8:30am on December 2nd.

Review and be familiar with USDA Handbook HB-1-3550 and remember to bring your laptops.

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Uncategorized

Rural Revitalization Success Story

Download NRHC’s Success Story Template HERE!