New Report Finds Significant Risks for Affordable Rural Housing

The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) recently released a report examining the state of affordable, rural rental housing across the country. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Section 515 Rural Rental Housing Program finances over 13,000 rental properties, providing more than 415,000 affordable homes for families and individuals across rural America. However, the report estimates that an average of 1,788 units will exit the program each year until 2027 as mortgages mature, and almost all of the rest of the portfolio may follow. The report explains that while some properties are restricted to an affordable housing use for a period after they leave the program, tenants of units without those provisions are often priced out of their homes after they are converted to market-rate properties. Affordable rental housing options are sparse and declining in rural areas, and the report provides a comprehensive assessment of USDA’s multi-family housing investments in order to better inform strategies that preserve and strengthen this resource for rural communities and residents. The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 548/H.R. 1661) includes provisions that would make it easier to preserve existing affordable housing units and finance affordable housing properties in rural areas using the Housing Credit.

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