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Report Explores Challenges for Rural Families Leaving Welfare and Searching for Affordable Housing

2/1/2006:   Easing the Transition: Housing Assistance for Rural TANF Recipients is a new report issued by the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) that identifies a number of specific obstacles for rural families who leave welfare and search for affordable housing.

"Many rural Americans face shortages of affordable housing units, jobs that pay well, and adequate transportation," says Moises Loza, Executive Director of the HAC. "Several states have designed housing assistance programs to help meet their welfare leavers' needs, and we found that many of them can help rural residents."

Many program officials told the HAC that they encountered families with serious credit issues, but they used homeownership counseling or they partnered with local lenders to qualify these families for mortgages or private market apartment rentals; some required program clients to participate in housing or financial counseling.

Another significant gap in rural places is the shortage of affordable housing unites. Overall, states found it difficult to impact this problem, according to HAC's report. One state, however, addressed the issue for some program participants through a partnership with a local nonprofit housing developer.

HACís report was prepared with support from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In addition to the free online version, a printed copy is available for $5.00, including postage and handling, from Luz Rosas at HAC, 202/842-8600, ext. 137, luz@ruralhome.org.

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