Urban Institute Analyzes Rural Counties with Severe Affordable Housing Needs

A report from the Urban Institute identifies 152 rural counties – defined as those that qualify for USDA housing programs – with the most-severe needs for affordable rental housing. The report identifies common threads among these communities, including low vacancy rates for rental homes (indicating few available rentals), more overcrowding, high rates of severely cost-burdened households and fewer federally subsidized rental units. Households across the nation, from urban to rural communities, are finding it increasingly difficult to pay rent no matter where they live. Rural areas can present a particular challenge to finance affordable rental housing because the market is smaller, rural rental housing developments tend to be smaller than urban rental housing, and rural areas often lack critical infrastructure, such as water systems, that enable the development of housing. The report recommends providing incentives to developers to boost rental housing development in underserved rural areas, including manufactured housing, and additional federal resources for subsidizing affordable housing in rural neighborhoods.

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