‘It’s like we don’t exist’: California’s invisible rural housing crisis

By Martin Kuz

[Quick Read]: The US Department of Agriculture runs a housing program for low-income residents in rural areas that is shrinking, even as the need expands. Two reports this year found that the program – housing an estimated 435,000 people – faces a dark future. In the early 1960s, federal lawmakers directed the USDA to create and expand low-income housing for the country’s large rural population by extending 30- to 50-year loans to developers to build multifamily dwellings outside urban areas. But the agency ends rental assistance when property owners fulfill their loan obligations, and the loss of subsidies leads most of them to leave the program and raise rents. “In many small communities, these properties are the only kind of affordable housing,” says Lance George of the Housing Assistance Council in Washington, D.C.  “If they disappear, there are no other options.” His concern is echoed by Kathleen Griffin, who lives in an apartment subsidized by the USDA in Winters, Calif. “Without this building and without the rent help, I’m not sure how I’d get by,” she says.

There is also a longer read (roughly 7 minutes) with a lot more information. Rental assistance is a critical way people with disabilities find affordable housing.

Leave a Reply