With housing costs skyrocketing, a proposed bill would extend assistance and help preserve affordable rental housing in rural areas.
A bill introduced in the U.S. Senate would support low-income tenants and prevent the loss of affordable apartment units in rural communities by shoring up a Department of Agriculture (USDA) program that provides rental assistance to rural tenants as the housing crisis spreads, hitting low-income, elderly renters hardest.
As Joe Belden explains in the Daily Yonder via a quote from David Lipsetz of the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) , the program, known as Section 515/521, “Since …1963, the Section 515 program has financed nearly 28,000 rental properties containing over 533,000 affordable apartment units, but fewer than 12,900 properties and approximately 370,000 occupied units remain in the program today.”
According to Belden, “The bill aims to provide USDA with the tools to keep Section 521 rental assistance available for tenants in privately-owned prepaid or maturing Section 515 properties.” Under current regulations, properties whose mortgages mature are excluded from the rental assistance program, with thousands of units lost each year.
Belden adds that the bill could be wrapped into the 2023 Farm Bill package.
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