NLIHC joined the National Housing Law Project (NHLP) in submitting a letter in support of “decoupling” Section 521 rental assistance from maturing Section 214 and Section 515 mortgages connected to U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development (USDA-RD) housing to allow households in rural areas to maintain their rental assistance when a USDA mortgage exits the agency’s housing portfolio. The letter was submitted following a series of listening sessions hosted by USDA-RD’s Rural Housing Service in July addressing how the agency could implement decoupling, as mandated by Congress. The listening sessions sought industry and tenant perspectives about how the agency should go about pursuing the decoupling process.
In the letter, NHLP and NLIHC recommend proposals to support low-income rural residents’ access to rural housing provided by the USDA, which is often the only affordable housing in their communities. “For properties with maturing mortgages, decoupling is a critical tool for keeping housing affordable for the low-income and very low-income renters living in those homes,” the letter states. “Decoupling is an important tool for preserving affordable housing in rural communities, especially in light of unprecedented rent increases that have priced many people out of what were affordable rental markets. In addition, it allows mission-driven housing providers who are able to secure other private and/or public funding to continue to serve low-income residents without renewing their USDA loans.”
Read the letter here.