Representatives Annie Kuster (D-NH) and Rick Nolan (D-MN) introduced the “Rural Housing Preservation Act” (H.R. 4908) on April 12. The purpose of the bill is to ensure that thousands of families living in rural communities are able to maintain their rental assistance provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Without a legislative intervention, extremely poor households would lose their rental assistance after the mortgages on properties financed through USDA’s Section 515 Rental Housing Loans program mature. More than 300,000 households nationwide reside in 11,576 Rural Development (RD) properties whose mortgages will mature by the end of 2024.
H.R. 4908 would ensure that these tenants continue to receive rental assistance after the mortgages mature. Residents in 515 properties with maturing mortgages would receive vouchers so that they can remain in their homes or move to a different property. The bill ensures flexibility in the value of the voucher to better assist voucher holders living in higher cost areas. In addition, the bill would allow USDA to renew rental assistance for a property regardless of the length of the mortgage that is outstanding or the type of payment.
“The residents who take advantage of USDA rental assistance are among some of our most vulnerable citizens, including seniors and individuals with disabilities. It is unacceptable that thousands of residents like these could lose their homes because of maturing loans. What’s worse, many of these individuals live in rural areas where low-income housing is extremely limited – leaving folks with no place to turn. We cannot allow this to happen,” said Ms. Kuster.
The National Low Income Housing Coalition, the National Housing Law Project, the National Housing Trust, LeadingAge and other housing organizations support H.R. 4908. In a supporting statement, Diane Yentel, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition said, ““NLIHC applauds Representative Kuster’s leadership in working to ensure residents receiving USDA rural housing assistance continue to maintain access to affordable housing after the federal loans supporting their properties mature. Without interventions such as those provided by this important legislation, extremely poor households risk losing their homes.”
Learn more about H.R. 4908 at: https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/4908