National Rural Housing Coalition Praises Biden Administration’s American Jobs Plan (AJP)
On March 31, 2021, the Biden Administration released an infrastructure proposal that included $2 billion for single-family and rental housing loans through programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
This new funding will significantly improve the quality and quantity of affordable housing in America’s small towns and farming communities, potentially doubling the number of home mortgages for low-income families and addressing an urgent need to renovate and repair the USDA financed portfolio of existing rental and farm labor housing. With so many rural substandard units in rural and tribal areas lacking running water, the proposal to invest $10 billion for rural water infrastructure is also vital.
On January 20, 2021, the National Rural Housing Coalition published an open letter to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris congratulating them on their victory and urging the new administration to take action to address the affordable housing crisis in rural America. The letter stated, in part:
“Fewer homes are being built per household than almost any other time in US history, and it is even worse in rural areas.” As a result, in some rural communities, economic growth is impeded not by the lack of jobs but by the lack of housing for workers. Some 1.5 million occupied rural units are substandard, more than 30 percent of the nation’s housing units lack running water and the situation is even worse in Native American lands.. According to the most recent National Agricultural Workers Survey, 33% of all farmworkers and 45% of migrant farmworkers live in crowded dwellings.
The letter included a number of recommendations that the Coalition also conveyed to the Biden-Harris transition team and incoming U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials. Among those was a proposal to reinvest in rural homeownership loans for low-income families and rental housing. When adjusted for inflation, over the last 20 years, appropriations to support rural housing loan programs have dropped by over 60 percent. As a result, less than 7,000 home ownership loans are available annually to low-income families and there is no direct lending for affordable rental housing in rural communities.
“For far too long the housing and community development needs of rural America have been ignored. The rural housing and clean water proposals in AJC, along with proposals to promote improvement of physical and social infrastructure in rural communities, funding for broadband and regional partnerships hold the promise of improved housing, drinking water and opportunity for rural communities. We applaud the President for his leadership and promise our support.” Said Bob Rapoza, Executive Secretary of the National Rural Housing Coalition
About the National Rural Housing Coalition
The National Rural Housing Coalition is a national membership organization that supports improved policy and programs for affordable housing and community development for rural America.
1. Raice, Shayndi. “Rural America Has Jobs. Now It Just Needs Housing.” Wall Street Journal May 30, 2018
2. Housing Assistance Council, “Taking Stock: Rural People, Poverty, and Housing in the 21st Century.” December 2012
3. “National Agricultural Workers Survey.” January 2018
National Rural Housing Coalition
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