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America’s Affordable Housing Crisis Isn’t Just Hitting Cities

October 2, 2018

By Laura Paddison : huffingtonpost – excerpt

Rural areas are getting crunched, too.

America’s well-documented affordable housing crisis is often framed in terms of the big urban areas, where housing and living costs are sky high and rapid gentrification pushes rents and prices up and lower-income residents out. But the affordability crisis is also playing out across rural America. It’s more spread out and driven by different factors, but it’s no less devastating.

A new report, published Tuesday, highlights the problem by ranking the affordable housing needs of rural communities across the country. Produced by the Urban Institute, a Washington, D.C., think thank, the report identifies 152 rural counties ― home to 8 million people ― with the most-severe needs for affordable rental housing.

While these counties are scattered across the U.S., the report identified some specific pockets of concentration, including along the border, from Texas to California; in the Southern Mississippi Delta, especially parts of Louisiana and Mississippi; and in the Southeast, including Florida, Alabama and Georgia…

“Rural communities face unique challenges to addressing their housing needs, and as a result, far too many of the lowest-income seniors, people with disabilities, families with children, and other individuals in rural America cannot afford to keep a roof over their head,” said Sarah Mickelson, the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s senior director for public policy. “Senator Warren’s landmark proposal would directly help rural families struggling to pay rent and make ends meet.”….(more)

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