By Elizabeth Zach, RCAC staff writer
Low-income residents renting homes in rural areas face an ever shrinking supply of affordable housing, which experts say will only worsen in the coming years.
“We’re learning that in rural housing, there is a crisis and people think that it’s different than urban America,” Stephen Sugg, government relations manager at the Housing Assistance Council (HAC), told The Daily Yonder, Huffington Post contributor. “It looks different, but very high percentages of rural renters are paying over half their income in rent.”
Sugg is particularly concerned about the USDA’s Section 515 Rural Rental Housing program. According to HAC, nearly 90 percent of all counties have at least one USDA property. But, the Section 515 program lacks funding that would encourage property owners to keep their properties subsidized and therefore affordable.
“There are about 415,000 units still in existence in this program,” HAC’s CEO, David Lipsetz told the Daily Yonder last month. “Every single one of those units is on a time clock. Every single one of those units without some action to recapitalize the property is going to deteriorate.”