By Stan Keasling, chief executive officer
The House of Representatives Appropriations Committee has reported its final funding numbers for next fiscal year. In spite of using a pretty aggressive budget number, the House is only increasing the self-help account from $30 to $32 million. Due to the increased borrowing costs, the 502 Direct Loan Program will cost an additional $55 million next fiscal year just to maintain the current $1 billion in loan authority. None of this is bad news, but, it is expected that the Senate numbers will be lower, and that it will be difficult to maintain these levels for next year’s appropriation.
One other concern we have all shared is the declining number of Rural Development staff. Despite providing sufficient funding for staff, the administration has declined to spend funds to hire staff. The house appropriations bill requires USDA to increase the Rural Development staffing level to 4,566, putting an emphasis on staffing at the state level. Hopefully, this report language will survive the conference committee hearing with the Senate, and help to alleviate the staff shortages we are all experiencing.
RCAC will submit a Capital Magnet Fund application to the Community Development Financial Institution Fund this summer. As we did with our last application, we will propose using a portion of the funds to provide low-cost, long-term financing on both multi-family and single-family developments. We will identify housing projects where we will likely use the funds, and we would like to include your projects. If you are planning a new development and would be interested in considering RCAC financing, please contact either Juanita Hallstrom, our Loan Fund director at firstname.lastname@example.org, or me at email@example.com.