On Rural America's Selective Housing Shortage

Counter to the usual narrative of population decline, some rural areas stand in serious need of housing.
July 13, 2019, 5am PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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"It may be hard to believe, given the region's overall population decline, cheap labor, and abundant land, but parts of rural America are struggling with a housing shortage," Laurent Belsie writes. 

Of course, much of rural America suffers no such problem. But there are quite a few exceptions. They include "counties on the edge of metro areas, those with amenities such as rural colleges or tourist attractions like mountains or lakes, and those communities that consolidate the commerce of faltering small towns into a single location are stable or growing."

In those places, low-income renters increasingly find themselves in rough straits. "That's because 50-year federal loans made to build rental complexes in rural America are starting to mature. And when they mature, landlords of those complexes are no longer bound by federal rules mandating that they stay low-rent, and tenants no longer receive federal assistance with their rent."

Belsie reports on Gothenburg, Nebraska's campaign to carve out state funding to build homes, and to capitalize on local assets like a Frito-Lay plant.

See also: "How Some Cities Are Losing People and Staying Prosperous."

Full Story:
Published on Friday, July 5, 2019 in The Christian Science Monitor
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