By Stan Keasling, RCAC chief executive officer

The National Rural Housing Coalition’s (NRHC) annual meeting was held during the last week of November. Anne Hazlett, assistant to the Rural Development secretary, attended the meeting to talk about issues related to rural housing programs. Most notable in her first presentation was the introduction of staff in newly reorganized positions. Joyce Allen, former associate administrator for single family housing, is now associate administrator for multi-family housing and Cathy Glover is now the acting associate administrator for single family. Both women are good friends of rural and self-help housing and, in the past, they have been very receptive to input from the field.

The budget picture for the current fiscal year has been battered by the debate over tax reform. On Tuesday, it looked like Congress would be moving quickly to complete negotiations on the FY 2018 budget but by Wednesday the picture had changed. It now looks like there will be another short-term continuing resolution that will likely go through sometime in January. The coalition is confident that we will be able to preserve the FY 2017 funding levels for this year.

The National Rural Self-Help Housing Association (NRSHHA) also held its annual meeting in conjunction with the NRHC meeting. We had a lengthy conversation about the HOME CHDO rule, and there was a desire to approach HUD about rewriting it. There are approximately 30 western self-help organizations that are members of NRSHHA, but there are 20 organizations that should seriously consider joining.

Have a wonderful holiday season.