Coalition Report Proposes Federal Strategies to Preserve Access to Affordable Rural Rental Housing
The National Rural Housing Coalition recently published a report, entitled Rural America’s Rental Housing, which describes how lower incomes, higher poverty rates, and other factors continue to present obstacles to renters trying to find affordable housing in rural areas. The report documents the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) instrumental role in providing affordable rural rental housing through financing the construction of more than 500,000 units of affordable rental housing over the past 50 years. The report also highlights USDA programs focused on the preservation and continued affordability of rural rental properties.
The report describes the impact of program funding cuts on both new construction and preservation of affordable rental housing in rural areas. Under current funding levels, USDA has only enough funding to finance 600 units of farmworker housing each year. The authors stress that the current scarcity of resources has made the preservation of USDA’s existing portfolio essential to maintain adequate affordable rental housing stock in rural communities. The authors conclude with an examination of federal strategies to preserve affordable rural rental housing and recommendations for USDA rural housing policy.