The struggle to make rent isn’t just an urban problem. Families living in rural areas across America are also burdened by rising housing costs. The production of new affordable housing is essential. But we can’t just build our way out of a housing crisis. That’s where preservation comes in.

In 2018, we launched a first-of-its-kind Rural Preservation Academy program in Texas. This innovative program was designed to help rural housing providers and nonprofits acquire and preserve USDA Rural Development, HUD 811 and 202, Low-Income Housing Tax Credit and other subsidized affordable housing.

20% of Americans
Live in rural areas
7 Million Homes Short
Only 37% who need affordable home can get them

Through a series of no-cost training and peer-learning sessions, the academy covered the entire preservation process from financing to property management. A dynamic cross section of thought leaders provided strategies for preservation, while specialized experts weighed in on related topics ranging from healing-centered community development to disaster preparedness and resilience.

Leveraging lessons learned from our pilot academy, we launched our second program in 2020. While the sessions were focused on Colorado communities, our sophomore program was delivered virtually to meet the moment and limitations of in-person gathering during the pandemic.

Funder block illustration of a man wearing a hard hat writing on a clipboard, a woman standing on a platform, boy sitting on a bench outside on a hillside
I didn't have anyone to turn to, so being a part of a cohort sounded great. I was going to meet others that have been doing my job for years and faced this problem before that can help me find an answer. And the Academy was state-centered, which I appreciate, because we've all got the same guidelines to deal with.
Nicole Holt, Executive Director, Archuleta Housing for the Elderly

Building on the success of our first two academies, we launched a third in 2021. Content was tailored specifically for preserving housing in rural communities across the Pacific Northwest. This academy was attended by more than 200 participants, leveraging insights from more than 28 thought leaders.

In spring of 2022, we launched our fourth academy focusing on subsidized and affordable housing in the southeast across rural Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi. We were excited to return to in-person sessions in June and look forward to additional in-person opportunities through October 2022.

Over the past four years, we’ve had more than 80 thought leaders across affordable housing and public agencies lend their expertise to our four different academies. To date, we’ve engaged more than 500 participants, giving them the opportunity to engage live or view content on-demand, including presentation recordings and real-world case studies.

In addition to our academies, Enterprise provides financial and legal technical assistance (TA) to Non-Profits and Public Housing Authorities (PHA) that need help and resources to file successful applications to accomplish rental preservation projects in rural communities. This technical assistance allows us, on an individualized basis, to build the capacity of these groups and help them overcome existing barriers to preservation.

Enterprise sees success in this combined Technical Assistance/Preservation Academy approach as critical to achieving the program’s intended outcomes – maximizing the number of affordable rural rental housing units that are available to low-income residents.

80+ Thought Leaders
Across affordable housing and public agencies have participated in 3 years
500+ Participants
in a series of 4 non-cost training and peer-learning academies

With great need in rural communities in all 50 states, we are eager to bring our Rural Preservation Academy series into as many states as possible. We will continue to refine and tailor our approach as we service new areas, helping more rural housing providers and nonprofits acquire and preserve safe, affordable homes.

A group writing notes on three large Post-It boards


Our Academies would not have been possible without the support of our partners: Colorado Health Foundation, Fannie Mae, Georgia Power, JPMorgan Chase, Oregon Housing & Community Services, The Collins Foundation and Truist.

Learn more about supporting our next academy.