The National Rural Housing Coalition (NRHC) fights for better housing and community facilities for low-income rural families. NRHC members promote and defend the principle that rural people have the right — regardless of income — to a decent, affordable place to live, clean drinking water, and basic community services. Even before the financial crisis, rural communities experienced economic distress. Higher poverty and unemployment rates have made it far more likely that a rural family will live in substandard housing or be overburden by rent. Nearly all communities with inadequate drinking water are rural.
Barriers to Affordable Rural Housing
Housing options in rural America are too expensive, are of poor quality, or are inaccessible to many low-income families. Because of higher, more persistent levels of poverty and limited access to affordable mortgage credit, rural communities often struggle to meet the housing needs of its residents.
Opportunities for Rural Homeownership
The National Rural Housing Coalition and our members strongly support federal programs that protect opportunities for affordable rural homeownership. Two of these programs — the Section 502 Direct Loan program and the Section 523 Mutual Self-Help Housing program — stand out as two of the best ways to meet rural housing needs. By examining the successful track records of thes programs, and by adopting practical measures to expand and improve their performance, our nation can better address the unique housing challenges in rural America.
Promoting Affordable Rental Housing
The National Rural Housing Coalition and our members work to increase access to affordable rental housing in rural America. We strongly support the Section 515 Rural Rental Housing program as a model for addressing rental housing needs for our most vulnerable residents — low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities.
Supporting Farm Labor Housing
National Rural Housing Coalition members support the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Section 514/516 Farm Labor Housing programs that aim to improve the quality of life and economic opportunity for America’s rural farmworkers. Today, farmworkers have the worst housing needs of all rural people. More than 60 percent of the 3 million farmworkers in the U.S live in poverty-a rate 5 times the national average. As such, farmworkers must overcome powerful barriers to decent housing, forcing many to live in substandard, crowded conditions.
Ensuring Safe Water and Sewer Services
National Rural Housing Coalition members believe that all rural people — regardless of income — deserve access to basic community services, like safe water and sewer systems. Today, many rural communities have severely limited access to a clean and affordable water supply and are considered to live in “water poverty.” USDA’s Rural Water and Sewer programs help provide some of the poorest and more remote rural communities with access to such basic services.