U.S. Senate Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Rural Housing Programs 

On Tuesday, September 20, the Senate Banking Committee’s Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development, chaired by U.S. Senator Tina Smith, held a hearing on rural housing issues titled “Examining the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing Service: Stakeholder Perspectives.”

The committee included testimony by Elizabeth Glidden, Deputy Executive Director of MHP (above), which focused on rural rental housing needs, specifically related to the Section 515 program, and recommended policy solutions.

MHP is one of a small number of organizations that have provided technical assistance with grant funds from USDA’s Multifamily Preservation Technical Assistance (MFTA) program, which supports preservation of affordable homes through the transfer of Section 515 properties from current owners to nonprofits or public housing authorities. MHP’s efforts, led by Community Development Manager Jill Henricksen, have helped preserve eighty-two units as affordable properties in Minnesota and Illinois, including securing $18.5 million in funding for preservation. As well, MHP’s research on Section 515 properties in Minnesota has caught the attention of housing advocates, cities and counties, and lawmakers.The Senate committee also featured testimony from Marcia Erickson of GROW South Dakota, Tonya Plummer of Enterprise Community Partners, and David Battany of Guild Mortgage Company. Ms. Plummer’s testimony included advocacy for support of the Native American Rural Homeownership Act (S. 2092, H.R. 6331), a bill endorsed by MHP, would authorizing the USDA Secretary to use $50 million of existing 502 single family housing direct loan appropriations for a national relending program so that Native CDFIs across the country can increase access to affordable home loans in rural Native communities.