Help we need your support!

As a REALTORĀ® and a constituent, I urge you to support legislation to ensure that rural communities continue to have access to valuable federal housing programs. Unless Congress acts quickly, families in more than 900 communities across the country will be unable to utilize the programs of the Rural Housing Service (RHS).
As a result of the 2010 census, RHS is now determining which currently eligible rural communities may no longer meet RHS program requirements due to changes in population or their designation as part of a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). Programs such as the Section 502 guaranteed loan program are instrumental in providing opportunities for homeownership for rural families. These loans can be used to build, repair, renovate or relocate a home, or to purchase and prepare sites, including providing water and sewage facilities. Private lenders and banks fund these loans, and RHS insures them. These loans are made at no cost to the federal government as the program’s costs are fully supported by the premiums paid by borrowers.
Congress created the definition of a “rural” community used by the RHS back in 1974; it has not been updated in the ensuing 38 years. Instead, following each census, Congress has simply “grandfathered” communities that had been eligible for RHS programs but due to changing demographics no longer met the RHS’ rural definition. The Senate has included a provision, sponsored by Senators Nelson (D-NE) and Johanns (R-NE), in the pending Farm Bill to provide a ten-year extension of eligibility for currently eligible communities. In the House, Rep. Fortenberry (R-NE) has introduced legislation to provide the same ten-year extension. But no final action has occurred on either bill.
Extending eligibility for existing communities does NOT authorize any additional funding, but would simply retain the pool of eligible communities. As our nation struggles to recover from our economic crisis, our rural families and communities need these programs more than ever. I urge you to support this extension and ensure safe access to housing financing for rural families when Congress returns to session in November

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