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Rural & Native American Housing

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Enterprise Point of Contact:

Zachary Johnson
Policy Analyst
Last Updated: May 23, 2012

Issue Background: Rural & Native American Housing

Many of the nation’s rural and Native American communities struggle with persis­tently high rates of poverty. One in every four rural households in the U.S. is severely overburdened by housing costs. Many households lack basic amenities such as water, electricity, and ade­quate heating and plumbing. Rural communities face additional challenges as they adapt to demographic changes resulting in older and more diverse populations.
 
Rural and Native American communities are eligible to receive funding through the traditional Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs, such as the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher and Project Based Rental Assistance programs and the Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP). In the case of block grants to state and localities, (such as the HOME Investment Partnerships and Community Development Block Grant programs) many rural communities are too small to receive a direct allocation and therefore receive funding from the state.  The Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act (NAHASDA; Public Law Number 104-330) established several funding programs for Native American communities, including the Indian Housing Block Grant, Indian Community Development Block Grant and Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant programs.
 
The Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Housing Service (RHS) administers a number of housing programs specifically for rural communities. Rental programs include the Section 515 Rental Housing Direct Loan, Section 514/516 Farm Labor Loan and Grant, Section 538 Multifamily Loan Guarantee and the Multifamily Preservation and Revitalization programs. Homeownership programs include the Section 502 Single Family Direct and Guaranteed Loan programs and the Section 523 Self-Help Housing program.
 
Enterprise’s Rural and Native American Initiative collaborates with national, regional and local organizations to provide decent, safe and green affordable housing to farmworkers, the southwest border colonias and a geographically diverse range of rural and Native American communities.

Current Policy State

Rural areas struggle with higher poverty rates than metropolitan areas and challenges with economic development and job loss. As a result, housing needs are especially severe in some rural areas. Throughout rural America, apartments are at risk of being lost because of the expiration of affordability restrictions and/or physical deterioration. These units can be preserved using resources such as the Multifamily Preservation and Revitalization Demonstration Program for Section 514,515 and 516 properties. However, like most housing programs, HUD and USDA rural and Native American housing programs are subject to limited fiscal resources as a result of the federal budget deficit and debt levels.

Legislative and Regulatory Priorities

Enterprise supports continued funding for rural housing programs in general, and rural rental housing preservation in particular.

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