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.
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.
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.