Strengthening Rural Communities Program
A nationwide leader in working with rural and Native communities 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 Rural Housing Development Organizations (RHDOs) involved in (or looking to increase) affordable housing activities. Statewide entities are not currently eligible.
There will be a priority review of Request for Technical Assistance applications until October 31, 2023. After that time, applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.
Support with the application process is available by contacting MHP Staff, so please don’t hesitate to email us with any questions you may have.
Eligible Projects and Activities
The Strengthening Rural Communities Program provides assistance for rural communities in:
- Increasing the capacity for affordable housing development (particularly multi-family) and rehab to address housing needs of the lowest income residents
- Increasing the capacity to access program funding (particularly HUD) and layer subsidies and the related need for early-stage project financial assistance
- Increasing the capacity to deliver supportive services and develop supportive housing, particularly for growing senior populations
- Increasing the capacity for comprehensive, sustainable community and economic development
MHP encourages a regional approach to housing and community development. This can include serving multiple entities by collaborating on a shared need. Successful applications must demonstrate a commitment by local community stakeholders to project implementation.
The following are NOT eligible for assistance:
- General operating support
- Direct housing services including affordable gap assistance
- Direct housing development costs
- Organizations with missions outside the housing and community development arena
- Lobbying or other direct political activities
- Activities for which the applicant already receives technical assistance or operating support funding from MHP
Who Can Apply
Beneficiaries awarded need to be focused on addressing community development issues surrounding affordable housing and/or economic development in rural areas, such as:
- Rural housing development organizations (nonprofits currently engaged in housing and/or community development in rural areas or actively working to build this capacity)
- Local units of government and political subdivisions
- Tribal governments, housing authorities, and chartered entities
- CHDOs and CDCs
MHP provides technical assistance for projects that build capacity to address housing needs, access funding, align affordable housing with economic development and sustainable development, or successfully implement new financing models for supportive/senior housing. Financial assistance may be available in conjunction with an approved award.
Some examples of eligible activities include:
- Staff development
- Obtaining CHDO designation
- Securing project funding
- Partnership development
- Development of projects
The proposed project must:
- Articulate a compelling need. Priority will be given to engagements that include: low-income communities; Native communities; low-income seniors; households experiencing homelessness; and communities of color
- Include credible plan to address a compelling need and project readiness
- Has identified staff and organizational leadership to undertake the proposed work
- Aligns with other organizational work and community efforts
- Prioritizes race equity to generate equitable outcomes within their community
- Exhibits sound financial capacity
- Demonstrates clear and measurable outcomes
MHP’s mission is to expand housing and community development opportunities for those most impacted by economic and racial disparities by leading collaborative work to promote systems change and grow equitable development capacity. Race equity is woven throughout our mission, values and principles. It is clear that one cannot have a conversation about housing without having a conversation about racial inequities. Preference points are given to underserved communities, including:
- Majority BIPOC and/or immigrant communities;
- Native Nations and Indigenous communities;
- Communities experiencing persistent poverty;
- Climate justice impacted communities;
- Promise zone communities.
“When all people have accessible and affordable homes in diverse and inclusive communities, we all benefit. Our economy benefits. Research shows that housing influences outcomes across many sectors. Students do better in school when they live in stable, affordable homes. People are healthier and can more readily escape poverty and homelessness. Yet, people of color are significantly more likely than white people to face systemic barriers to quality, accessible, and affordable homes. Housing is the pathway to economic mobility and opportunity. Yet for far too many people in this country, the pathway is full of roadblocks.”Source: A Racial Equity Lens is Critical to Housing Justice Work, National Low Income Housing Coalition
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Check out a map of our work with more than 60 rural and Native communities in Minnesota and across the country.