Friday, April 1, 2016

Housing Assistance Council examines rural homelessness

News from NHC's family of members
by Radiah Shabazz, National Housing Conference 


In the March edition of Rural Voices magazine NHC member and 2016 Housing Visionary Award honoree Housing Assistance Council (HAC)  focuses on the unique challenges of homelessness in rural areas and the communities around the country working to address them.

This special edition of Rural Voices examines homelessness in rural communities through varying scenarios including what homelessness is like for veterans in rural areas, how vulnerable populations like farm workers experience homelessness, how communities can provide supportive services as part of its affordable housing plan and what schools in rural communities know about children experiencing homelessness. These articles reveal that people experiencing homelessness in rural communities are often under-represented in homelessness counts due to increased difficulty in tracking those experiencing homelessness in rural areas versus urban areas. And while broad factors like lack of affordable housing and adequate employment options impact homelessness rates in both urban and rural communities, this edition of Rural Voices points out that rural areas are also impacted by several unique issues like more substandard housing; lack of mental health, child care and other services that would help people maintain stability; and higher poverty rates resulting from slower recovery from the Great Recession.

People in rural communities have a long tradition of supporting each other when times are bad, which means you often see crowded housing rather than people living on the street,” Moises Loza, executive director of HAC explained in a press release. “When we are able to understand how different homelessness can be in rural areas, we can design innovative solutions to address those differences. We hope this issue of Rural Voices helps continue the conversation.”

HAC will receive NHC’s Housing Visionary Award at our 44th Annual Gala on June 2 in Washington, DC. We are pleased to honor HAC for its over 40 years of work to improve the housing conditions of the poorest of the rural poor, advocating sound policy on rural housing programs and being a critical source of capacity building and information for rural housing in America. Join us in celebrating HAC by submitting a tribute ad for our program book.


Download the March edition of Rural Voices here.

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