NLIHC Joins Letter to House Financial Services Committee in Support of “Rural Housing Service Reform Act”

NLIHC joined a letter along with 15 other national organizations in support of the “Rural Housing Service Reform Act of 2023” (H.R.6785), which would modernize and improve the administration of housing programs run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Housing Service (RHS). NLIHC has endorsed both the House and Senate versions of the bill.

The bill proposes several reforms to the existing RHS program, including decoupling rental assistance from maturing mortgages, permanently establishing the Multifamily Housing Preservation and Revitalization Demonstration (MPR), improving USDA’s Section 542 voucher program to better serve voucher holders, permanently establishing the Native Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Relending pilot program, and improving staff training and capacity within RHS. In addition to offering endorsements, NLIHC provided feedback on both the House and Senate versions of the bill.

The letter states that “the legislation would allow for the decoupling of the Section 521 Rental Assistance (RA) program when the Section 515 mortgage loan expires. While RD has been given authority in Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 to implement a demonstration program for 1,000 units in properties where a mortgage will expire, H.R. 6785, would permanently allow decoupling and allow RA to continue on the properties, preserving an important source of housing for low-income residents in rural communities throughout the country.” The letter specifically calls for House Financial Services Committee leadership to support the RHS Reform Act and urges the committee to hold a hearing and then schedule a mark-up on the bill before the end of May.

In addition to NLIHC, the letter was signed by Council for Affordable and Rural Housing, Enterprise Community Partners, Housing Assistance Council, Institute of Real Estate Management, LeadingAge, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Mortgage Bankers Association, National Affordable Housing Management Association, National American Indian Housing Council, National Apartment Association, National Association of Home Builders, National Council of State Housing Agencies, National Housing Law Project, National Leased Housing Association, and National Multi Family Housing Council.

Read the letter here.