The growing need to stabilize mobile homes, consumer awareness about land contracts and rural land banks were just some of the topics discussed at the Rural Advocates Annual meeting in Cooperstown. A funding pool for the purchase, rehabilitation and resale of vacant units to low income and working families was identified as a need to address the impact of foreclosure. The cost of bringing basic Infrastructure to single family homes as well as rental units including mobile home parks and the need for security deposit revolving funds were some priorities for this year.
The Preservation Program is the most effective and efficient delivery system for affordable housing programs as long as every company has a community presence. Several counties fail to have that presence although they may be incorporated into an existing contract “service area” and without a go-to, recognized program for each County, there continues to be program gaps in rural New York. Advocates called for consistent and active management of contracts to produce reliable data. To that end, they support funding for additional HCR staffing after an 80% program staff cut and an increase in funding for RHC for TA and support for assistance in collecting data for effective program evaluation.
New needs identified include technology update and training through a one time technical advancement compliance program for preservation companies. Groups need training on communicating electronically.
Anticipating a decrease in Federal housing funds, increases to AHC, RESTORE and ACCESS to HOME can address single family housing gaps. One time settlement money can be used for these existing programs as well as greater utilization of the Main Street and the Community Investment Fund. Advocates identified a need for small scale projects and a rural area revitalization program with minimum project funding that can address small projects and not be encumbered with documentation necessary to secure and protect investments of larger sums