Thursday, May 31, 2012

HAC (@Ruralhome) gets hip, and about time.

The best DC affordable-housing wonks' news sheet, for ages, has been from the Housing Assistance Council. They don't get half enough attention for it. In the outside world, I mean. Industry pros and subsidized-housing beat reporters know about them. Not so sure about the general public, nor even about generalists in housing-related business or economics.

Every two weeks the essential HAC News goes out by email (signup is free) and appears on the site. Plain text with a few links in basic HTML, no frills, dense reading. In the equivalent of about one printed page, they write most of what you need to know about current developments in affordable housing on the Hill. Emphasis on rural housing because, as a nonprofit lending and technical assistance office, that's what they do. Enough to work from, though, about all types of federal housing legislation, hearings and budget talk.

They're on Twitter at @Ruralhome, though again not getting as many readers as the steady quality of their work should earn.

Here's the good news: they've just published what the current newsletter says is "the first of a series of contributions to the National Housing Institute’s Rooflines blog." NHI's group of sites are a little better off for readership, and the staff are bigger with the computer graphics and snazzy promotional posts and so on

The item is, "What Does An Affordable Rural Rental Housing Strategy Look Like?" Characteristically, it's much worth reading, though you might have to read some bits twice or three times. Author Leslie Strauss is cheering the Senate Appropriations Committee for telling USDA to "get its act together" on deciding which rural housing subsidy programs it really supports and why. She has, naturally, some ideas how USDA should respond. There's a poignant defense along the way of rural tenants with the lowest incomes who depend on aging buildings in the frequently underfunded Sec. 515 program.

As I've been learning this past month through experimental exposure to the Twitter firehose, here's a lot of blithering out there about housing. HAC, by contrast, is solid.

So it's good to see the HAC stuff getting a little farther out there where more folks can read it. More of this, please.


  1. Thanks very much, Martha! One correction - the hyperlink to HAC's website needs a www or it doesn't work:

  2. Thanks for stopping by & for all your good work.

    The link was working for me on Firefox without the "www" but it's corrected now in case other systems need it. Sorry to be unhip about that. Rgds/M