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Summer 2019

It was time to shift our thinking so rural areas were more clearly part of the fold, and we decided that a focus issue would be a good way to do that.

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Q: Is Rental Housing a Rural Issue?

Yes! Although homeownership rates are higher in rural areas, there is still a significant rural population that needs rental housing.

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Organizing Strategy

A Radically Different Planning Process in Brownsville

In a year-long program that included bike rides, serenades, and Dragtivist performances, an art collective guided Brownsville, Texas, residents in reimagining how they could influence equity and justice in their city.

Community Reinvestment Act

Improving CRA for Rural America

The Community Reinvestment Act regulations should be recrafted to incentivize investments in underserved and economically distressed communities, many of which are rural.

A group works to raise a wall as part of the Self-Help Housing Program.
Housing

Working up a Sweat with the Self-Help Housing Program

Fifty-four years and 52,000 homes later, the future of the Self-Help Housing Program for low- and very-low income households is uncertain after it was eliminated in a budget proposal for next fiscal year.

Kids stand in front of a mural in Thomas, West Virginia.
Arts & Culture

An Antidote to the Negativity Surrounding Rural America

With all the news of downward trends in rural America, this rural sociologist says he finally has something to smile about.

Financial System

Creative Ways to Finance Agriculture

In Montana, small family farms are disappearing at an alarming rate, and farmers and ranchers are unable to compete with giant agriculture mergers. But there are several ways to help improve the farmland accessibility issue.

Native women tan hide outside as part of a program called Indigenous Visionaries
Arts & Culture

The Next Generation of Indigenous Knowledge Keepers

A tribal college program works to preserve crucial Native American cultural elements while training indigenous women to step into leadership roles in their communities.

A small white fense with a sign that reads "welcome" and red flowers frame a resident-owned community in Wisconsin.
Housing

Taking Ownership Into Their Own Hands

Residents who live in manufactured housing communities across the U.S. are under threat of skyrocketing property values, predatory investors, and limited financing options. Can resident-owned communities stem the tide?

The outside of Karluck Manor, a housing-first facility that is helping to address the opioid epidemic.
Community Development Field

Getting to the Heart of the Opioid Crisis

In some ways, dealing with the opioid epidemic is a natural fit for community development groups. At the heart, it’s often a problem of poverty: a lack of jobs and opportunities. Here’s how CDCs are using their skills to address the crisis.

Housing

The Rental Housing Crisis Is a Rural Issue Too

Much like urban communities, rural communities also face critical housing issues like rental shortages, a lack of federal and private funding to build new units, and the impending loss of affordability restrictions. Here’s what could help.

Interview

Changing the Way We Think About Poor Rural Communities

Rural communities are very different places—separated by climate, geography, and often race. But in many other ways, these communities are far more similar than different.

Editor’s Note

Shifting our Thinking About Rural Coverage

Shelterforce has had its comfort zones, and we’ve largely stayed within them. But it was time to shift our thinking so rural areas were more clearly part of the fold.

A man helps put together solar-powered generators in rural Puerto Rico.
Community Development Field

The Rural Difference in Natural Disasters

There are distinct differences between natural disaster response and recovery in rural and urban communities. How can community-based organizations better respond to disasters and help rural communities prepare before disaster strikes?