The cost of living tends to be cheaper in rural areas, so why are rural Americans facing an affordable housing crisis? A January 2015 article in The Atlantic offers an explanation.
The article explains that, although housing is cheaper in rural communities, income is lower due to limited job opportunities. According to 2012 data from the Housing Assistance Council, the poverty rate in rural America is 17%, compared to the national poverty rate of 14%.
At the same time, the available housing stock is deteriorating, with many rural homeowners unable to afford the cost of repairs. And developers interested in building new homes often face infrastructure hurdles, such as a lack of access to water and sewer lines, which further reduces rural Americans’ access to quality affordable homes.
These problems have been compounded by the recent decline in federal aid to rural areas. For example, the budget for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 502 Direct Loan Program—which provides mortgages and home improvement loans for very low-income rural Americans—has been reduced from $2.1 billion in 2010 to $828 million in 2013.
In a state as large as Texas, the rural housing crisis is even more acute. Citing research conducted by Bowen National Research, a Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas article indicates that affordable housing continues to be a pressing need in 177 counties that were identified as rural in nature.
In an effort to address Texas' rural housing shortage, TSAHC has made it a priority to serve rural communities as part of our Texas Foundations Fund grant-making program. We commit to providing at least one grant per funding cycle to fund home repairs or supportive housing services, such as adult education and job training, in rural areas.
Click here to learn more about the Texas Foundations Fund.
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