On July 16, 2007, the House passed the Rural Housing and Economic Development Improvement Act of 2007, H.R. 1982, which would improve quality of life by providing resources to address substandard housing in rural America. This bill would authorize $30 million for the Rural Housing and Economic Development (RHED) program for Fiscal Year 2008.
Twenty percent of our nation's population lives in rural communities, yet far too many of these families live in conditions that are poor, inadequate, or run-down. This legislation addresses that critical need for housing in rural America by authorizing $30 million for the RHED program in Fiscal Year 2008 and $40 million for Fiscal Years 2009-2013. This bill will help the RHED program provide additional funding needed to increase and improve capacity building at the state and local level for rural housing and economic development and to support innovative housing and economic development activities in rural areas.
Capacity building includes a variety of initiatives that range from hiring and training staff to making technology improvements to developing strategic plans. The programs grants are awarded to communities and used for architectural renderings, purchase of building materials, land acquisition, and/or construction.
In the proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2008, the Republican Administration proposed to eliminate many rural housing programs, including RHED. The proposed budget also eliminates all funding for the construction or preservation of affordable housing in rural communities. This legislation will help improve the affordability, availability and quality of housing in rural America.