Senators Smith and Rounds Introduce Rural Housing Service Reform Bill

Senators Tina Smith (D-MN) and Mike Rounds (R-SD) introduced the “Rural Housing Service Reform Act of 2023” (S.1389) in the U.S. Senate. The bill would aim to improve the housing programs administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing Service (RHS) through several reforms, including decoupling rental assistance from maturing mortgages, permanently establishing the Multifamily Housing Preservation and Revitalization Demonstration (MPR), making permanent the Native CDFI Relending pilot program, and improving staff training and capacity within RHS. NLIHC supports the bill.

The bill represents the culmination of the work of Senators Smith and Rounds as Chair and Ranking Member, respectively, of the Senate’s Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development. The Subcommittee held hearings and requested public input on the RHS programs last year. The bill includes several recommendations from NLIHC, including some listed in a letter sent to the Subcommittee by the National Housing Law Project last year (see Memo, July 11, 2022). The “Rural Housing Service Reform Act” was highlighted during a Housing Subcommittee hearing on May 2, during which rural housing experts testified. Natalie Maxwell, managing attorney for the National Housing Law Project, testified in support of the bill and gave recommendations for the bill’s further improvement.

Read the bill text and see its cosponsors at:

Read a press release on the bill at:

Read NHLP’s testimony at: