Search Form
First, enter a politician or zip code
Now, choose a category

Public Statements

Letter to Herb Kohl and Robert Bennett, Chairman and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies, Re: Investment in Meeting Nation's Rural Housing Needs

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


Letter to Herb Kohl and Robert Bennett, Chairman and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies, Re: Investment in Meeting Nation's Rural Housing Needs

Senator Clinton Urges Investment in Meeting Nation's Rural Housing Needs

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton joined a bipartisan coalition of her colleagues today to call on Senate leaders to reject the Bush Administration's proposed budget cuts and the outright elimination of key initiatives to ensure affordable rural housing. In a letter delivered to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies, the lawmakers stressed that the cuts proposed in the Fiscal Year 2009 budget would fall disproportionately on programs that target assistance to the neediest and most vulnerable communities in rural America. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development housing programs are crucial to the creation and repair of housing units in rural communities across the nation.

"During these increasingly difficult economic times, rural families who can least afford it are facing growing financial burdens. It is more critical than ever to develop new housing opportunities and improve conditions for America's hardworking rural families," said Senator Clinton.

Senator Clinton has been long been a leading advocate for rural communities. Senator Clinton delivered a major address on the challenges facing rural communities in July 2006 in Lockport, NY, and in March 2007 she introduced the Rural Investment to Strengthen our Economy Act (Rural RISE Act), which will help create jobs, develop new sources of capital, and invest in education, healthcare, broadband, and agriculture to create new opportunities and economic growth in small towns and rural communities.

The letter to the Senators Kohl and Bennett is attached -

The Honorable Herb Kohl
Chairman
Subcommittee on Agriculture,
Rural Development, Food and
Drug Administration, and
Related Agencies
Senate Committee on Appropriations
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Robert Bennett
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Agriculture,
Rural Development, Food and
Drug Administration, and
Related Agencies
Senate Committee on Appropriations
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Chairman Kohl and Ranking Member Bennett:

We write to respectfully request funding for the USDA Rural Development housing programs that received significant cuts or were eliminated in the Administration's fiscal year 2009 budget proposal. The Administration's cuts fall disproportionately on programs that target assistance to the very poorest segments of America's rural communities.

Specifically, funding for the Section 515 rural rental housing was completely eliminated by the Administration's budget. Section 515 plays a critical role in new construction and renovation of existing rental housing units in many of our nation's rural areas. Last year, we worked together to save the funding for this important program. Together we can again ensure that this program meets our nation's rural housing needs by giving a funding level of $150 million for fiscal year 2009.

Similarly, the Administration's budget zeroed out Section 502 direct loans, which provide affordable credit to the nation's poorest rural families. Almost half of the families in this program have incomes at 40% of area median income. Additionally, at a cost to the government of less than $10,000 per home, the Section 502 direct loan program is one of the most cost-effective assistance programs. We ask that Section 502 direct loans be funded at $1.5 billion. This funding level will allow the program to begin processing its application backlog of over $3 billion. It is vitally important that the nation's poorest rural families not be excluded during this time of crisis, making these and other rural housing programs even more important.

We ask that you fund the USDA Self Help Housing program at $60 million in order to renew grants that expire in FY08 and FY09. The Self Help Housing program is an important element in the Administration's stated goal of increasing minority home ownership. Additionally, we support at least $50 million for farm labor housing loans and grants authorized under sections 514 and 516, respectively. These are the only federal programs with the sole purpose of improving housing conditions for the worst housed people in rural America: migrant and seasonal farmworkers.

The Administration has also ignored the crucial need for funding of the Rural Community Development Initiative, which provides technical assistance and training funds to qualified intermediary organizations to develop their capacity to undertake housing, community facilities, and community and economic development projects in rural areas. We ask that the administration provide the funds needed to effectively run this program, at a level of $10 million for Fiscal Year 2009.

These rural housing programs are crucial to the creation and repair of housing units in rural communities across America. Thank you for your consideration and we look forward to working with you to ensure that our nation's rural housing needs are appropriately met.


Source:
Skip to top
Back to top