Texas’ Rural Rental Affordability Problem (and What We’re Doing to Address It)

September 20, 2019 | by Anna Orendain

Categories: Affordable Housing, Rental Housing

Last month, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas (Dallas Fed) released a report detailing the looming affordability problem in Texas’ rural affordable housing communities.

As stated in the report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Rural Development (USDA RD) Section 515 program is one of the major federal programs aimed at subsidizing rental housing for low-income, elderly, and disabled residents in rural communities.

Texas has the highest number of Section 515 properties in the nation — a fact that comes as no surprise considering Texas is home to the second-largest number of rural renters in the U.S. (60% of which have an income of less than $20,000 a year).

Yet, federal support for the 515 Program is dwindling, and a significant number of properties are close to aging out of the program, meaning that property owners will no longer be required to keep rents affordable for the current residents of their Section 515 units. In fact, by 2030, 6,249 units currently in operation will leave the program unless action is taken to preserve their participation.

Collaborating to Preserve Affordable Rural Rental Housing 

Hope for preserving these properties could be on the horizon thanks to a partnership that includes TSAHC. Enterprise Community Partners, the Dallas Fed, Motivation Education and Training (MET), the Rural Rental Housing Association of Texas and TSAHC launched the Rural Rental Housing Preservation Academy last year to help rural housing providers and nonprofits acquire and preserve USDA housing in their communities.  

The Academy spanned five sessions and brought together knowledge and resources from both private and public organizations at local, state, and federal levels. You can read summaries of each session here: Session One, Two, Three, Four, and Five.

Texas Rural Rental Housing Buyer & Seller conference

Recognizing there is more work to be done, this collaboration has continued into 2019 and now includes Fannie Mae and USDA’s Office of Rural Development. Together, these partners are hosting the Texas Rural Rental Housing Buyer & Seller Conference on October 2nd and 3rd in Dallas.

Bringing together major stakeholders in the effort to preserve USDA Rural Development rental housing, the event will allow participants to examine case studies in preservation, explore financing options, and learn about potential opportunities to preserve existing properties.

If you wish to join us in working towards preserving affordable rural rental housing, register here for the conference.

On the House blog posts are meant to provide general information on various housing-related issues, research and programs. We are not liable for any errors or inaccuracies in the information provided by blog sources. Furthermore, this blog is not legal advice and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed professional attorney.


Laura Ross

Hi Stacy, a financial or foreclosure prevention counselor can help you navigate the options available to you. A list of counselors in your area can be found here - https://www.texasfinancialtoolbox.com/foreclosure-prevention-counseling.

Laura Ross

Hi Tom, You can contact our offices for help with registration 512-477-3555.

Tom E Purvis

I was interested in attending the Oct 2-3 conference in Dallas but could not register online.  Can you help me register for the event.  Thanks.

Stacy Windings

Hello. I live in West Texas and I am having a hard time with my mortgage payments. I was told there is no assistance for mortgage payments. I don’t understand why this is! I am seeking disability with a lawyer and I can’t find any help for this issue…

Leave a Comment