2023 County Profiles

MHP’s 2023 County Profiles provides new data measurements at the county level in critical housing areas. The resource features data on different demographics of cost-burdened households paying at least 30% of their income for housing, changes in rent and home prices, eviction filings compared to pre-pandemic rates, racial disparities in homeownership, a comparison of top in-demand wages compared to current housing costs, and more.

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This is the direct link to MHP’s Request for Technical Assistance application. A nationwide leader specializing in working with rural and Native communities and around the U.S, MHP’s proven track record of financial and technical expertise provides organizations the ability to build and preserve housing and community assets. Since 2010, MHP has received HUD and USDA grants to provide targeted technical assistance. From innovative planning practices to knowledge of complex federal housing programs, our experienced team helps organizations build capacity and overcome impediments to successfully planning and implementing community development projects.

Eligible organizations are those currently engaged in housing and/or community development in rural areas or actively working to build this capacity, such as Community Development Corporations (CDCs), Community Housing Development Organizations (CHDOs), local/county governments, Native nations, and nonprofits involved in (or looking to increase) affordable housing activities. Statewide entities are not currently eligible.

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Community Development Success Story:  Chipola Florida Area Habitat for Humanity

MHP’s travels recently included Florida, to reconnect with a beneficiary of our technical assistance work, Chipola Area Habitat (CAH). CAH seeks to develop a 9-acre site known as the “Cook Property” for affordable housing, and we worked with them to select an architectural firm to help create a master plan for the site. Fitzgerald Collaborative out of Tallahassee, a certified Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), was chosen. As the surrounding community of Marianna is predominantly African-American, it is meaningful to a team lead by a Black architect—for a Black architect to have a voice in, as well as the power and access to, physically design the built environment for a Black community.

While in Marianna, we facilitated a community engagement meeting in the City’s historic Black neighborhood, which has historically faced a lack of investment. More than 20 residents attended alongside representatives from Chipola College, City Commissioner and CAH Board member Travis Ephriam, and State Representative Shane Abbott. During the neighborhood planning presentation, MHP introduced the centuries-old, now-social justice saying “Nothing about us, without us, is for us,” to underscore the need for authentic engagement that is community-driven.

From Left: Jill Henricksen, MHP; Chipola Area Habitat for Humanity staff members; Cynthia Williams, Carmen Smith, and Jennie Ann Dean.

MHP’s community technical assistance model is built around self-determination and locally-identified needs, and our experience informs us that the participation and prioritization of communities impacted by racial and economic disparities is critical to successful community development work.

The lively meeting resulted in the start of a neighborhood revitalization plan for the West End, and identifying community members to participate on a steering committee for the master planning at the Cook Property, as there are many connections between these two parts of the city.

With the steering committee organized and the architectural firm selected, MHP will now assist CAH in the next steps of the master planning process, including completing necessary predevelopment studies for the site. The creation of a new advisory committee made up of Habitat homeowners is also in the works. We look forward to our continued work in Marianna, and to see the fruits of the community’s efforts in new affordable housing!

Does your region or community need help adding affordable housing to your area? 

Community Development Success Story:  Lower Sioux Indian Community 

“MHP helped Lower Sioux’s Planning & Grants Department identify a new funder for an upcoming rental construction project. They then sat down with us to teach us how to complete the intensive 15-year feasibility projections and they reviewed our proposal draft. “In the end, we were awarded two grants to build 10 new rental homes at Lower Sioux. We simply couldn’t have done it without MHP’s guidance.” 

Nora Murphy, Tribal Planner and Grant Writer for the Lower Sioux Indian Community.

The Lower Sioux Indian Community (LSIC) has a very limited land base (1,743 acres held in federal trust) and a growing population. While housing of all types is needed, planning for the future has been challenging due to limited information on the existing housing stock, housing records that are outdated or incomplete, and the lack of a formal land development plan in place to guide future housing development. 

The Tribe has 1,124 enrolled members, 85% of whom live on the reservation and/or within the federally designated 10-mile service area that spans three rural counties in Minnesota (Redwood, Renville, and Brown). While the surrounding rural areas are experiencing significant decreases in population, the Lower Sioux’s Enrollment Department reports that the Tribe has seen its population rise 70% since 2000. Just over one-third are young people under 18 years, and 10% are 60 years or older. According to a community survey, 86% of the community state they would like to see their children and grandchildren continue to live on the reservation or in the service area. 

Due to multiple complications beginning in the 1990s, the Lower Sioux Housing Authority identified a persistent challenge to completing the homeownership process for Tribal applicants due to incomplete land and title records. This limits not only the capacity for new homeowners today but also the ability of the Tribe to assign land use for future housing development.

While new procedures have been adopted by the Tribe to better track transactions, there remains an estimated 75% of families and homeowners (116) with incomplete land and title files.

“With our current crew, this was the first housing project we put together.  Having MHP’s guidance and knowledge of the process saved us time and potential mistakes.  It was nice to have MHP on our side during a process that was unfamiliar and at times intensive.”

Larry Swann, Housing Director, Lower Sioux Indian Community 

To address the three challenges of lack of housing, incomplete land use and title records, and the need for additional sustainable Tribal revenue streams, MHP began providing on-site and remote technical assistance to LSIC Housing Authority’s and other department staff in 2019. Accomplishments of the project include:

  • A needs assessment outlining the priority needs of LISC and surrounding community.
  • Successfully securing funding for infrastructure, new construction, and rehab (including the creation of an emergency rehab loan program for Tribal members). LSIC’s first-ever application to the Federal Home Loan Bank for construction subsidy for 8 elder units and 2 single-family homes was funded, as was their application to HUD’s competitive IHBG grant application.
  • Creating site and housing design standards; the final design documents have been completed by architects and engineers for the housing units.
  • Creating a strategy of utilizing the local production of hemp in a closed-loop system to employ local/regional people in the farming of hemp, production of hemp hurd/hempcrete, and the installation of the products into housing units.
  • Completing a feasibility report and business plan (aided by funding from MHP’s Rural Capacity Building program). The preliminary feasibility study/report was used to apply and secure $1.5 million in State EDA funds through the State of Minnesota.

Throughout the work, MHP participated as an advisor, supporter, and development team participant, providing the necessary technical assistance to get 10 houses funded!

Does your region or community need help adding affordable housing to your area? 

Community Development Success Story: MHP Partners with Tennessee Outreach Project

Mountain T.O.P. (Tennessee Outreach Project) is a faith-based nonprofit that offers several programs to “meet the physical, spiritual, social, and emotional needs of all the people [they] encounter” including a food shelf and home repair. They are based in Grundy County, which has a poverty rate of  19.1%. They were interested in starting a new construction program for single family homes that could offer replacement homes for very low-income families.

Shortly after MHP began working with Mountain T.O.P., their longtime Executive Director retired, leaving their Program Director in the interim position. Despite the challenges of the loss of the position, the team was able to accomplish several goals including conducting a Housing Needs Assessment for which a housing advisory group was established and still meets today! MHP also helped to draft a business plan for a single family development program using value gap funding from the Tennessee Housing Development Agency and Federal Home Loan Bank’s AHP funds. Included in that document was a template for construction budgets and a list of general contractors building in the area. Finally, the team identified development opportunities with regional partners, such as South East Tennessee Development (SETD), Better Fi, a local CDFI. In April 2022, Mountain T.O.P. held a Housing Summit for the first time, with more than 25 organizations present, including Tennessee Housing.

Does your region or community need help adding affordable housing to your area? 

Take 5 with MHP’s Matt Encarnación

Take Five is MHP’s series that asks the same five questions of a variety of people intersecting with MHP, from staff to housing advocates! We are excited to welcome Research Intern Matt Encarnación.

Matt Encarnación

Q1. Who are you?

Hello! My name is Matt Encarnacion (he/him) and I’ll be pursuing my Master of Science in Social Policy at the University of Pennsylvania this fall. Currently, I serve as a Research Intern for the Low-income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) project.

Q2. What attracted you to working with MHP?

MHP’s commitment to racial and economic equity through affordable housing advocacy, research, and community development affirms my dedication to social justice and aligns with my foundational goal of seeking to promote a socially-just society.  

Q3. What’s a challenge in the field of housing right now?

While many challenges pervade the field of housing, the risk of charging market-rate rents in desirable neighborhoods with many opportunities once affordability restrictions expire is something that I view to be troubling. Low-income renters may be displaced, segregating residential spaces further and stripping these tenants of the positive psychosocial and physical benefits that accompany occupying units in these neighborhoods (NLIHC & PAHRC, 2018).  

Q4. Is there a book by your bed, and what is it?

Two books sit atop my nightstand, Batman and Philosophy The Dark Knight of the Soul by Mark D. White and Robert Arp and Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond. The former lies there idly, for now, while the latter is being actively read for the second time. 

Q5. Who is your superhero? 

Barack Obama 

Look out for more Take 5 profiles coming soon!

MHP Continues Work Near Alaska’s Prince William Sound

MHP’s Community Development team and the Prince William Sound Economic Development District (PWSEDD) have recently began the process of collaborating with McKinley Research Group—an Alaska-based research firm—to conduct a regional housing needs assessment for the Prince William Sound region. The district includes cities of Cordova, Valdez, and Whittier, and Native Villages of Eyak and Tatitlek. There is a severe shortage of housing in all of the communities of the region, given the specific challenges around topography and accessibility, cost of construction and materials, and lack of developers and contractors. MHP is providing financial support to help offset the cost of the initial Housing Needs Assessment.

“Each community within the Sound truly has their own unique topographic and economic challenges that make housing development and affordability so critical and also even more difficult.” says Erika Brown, Community Development Manager at MHP and project lead “I am excited to be working with each community to identify the best way to engage and involve their residents throughout this process and come up with strategies to address their housing needs that are as unique as each of the communities themselves.”

Once completed, MHP staff will assist regional partners in development of a housing action plan (HAP), with specific strategies to address housing development needs in each community. MHP will provide remote and in-person technical assistance for this planning by creating engagement tools and supporting outreach strategies such as community surveys, stakeholder interviews, and public town halls hosted during the summer of 2023. 

Emergency Rental Assistance During The COVID-19 Pandemic

MHP has published a report, Emergency Rental Assistance During The COVID-19 Pandemic: Findings And Recommendations for Preventing Evictions and Rental Arrears. The report reviews the impact of federally-funded emergency rental assistance (ERA) in Minnesota.

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