Households in rural rental properties are among the most vulnerable in the nation. With lower median incomes and higher poverty rates than homeowners, many renters are simply unable to find decent housing that is also affordable. As a result, rural renters are more than twice as likely to live in substandard housing compared with people who own their own homes.
Though the demand for rental housing in rural areas remains high, the supply has decreased. Most federally supported multifamily properties are 35-plus years old and need modernization. These properties have suffered from federal funding shortages and statutory and regulatory barriers that make recapitalization difficult or impossible.
Since neither the private nor the public sector can produce affordable rural housing independently of the other, a public-private partnership is needed to be successful. The following are several existing programs that are proof of the success of such partnerships. However, more can and must be done so that the housing needs of rural America can successfully be met.