Monday, December 5, 2022


A Louisiana Public Service Commission runoff could affect energy policy, LGBTQ advocates await final passage of the Respect for Marriage Act, and democracy gets a voter-approved overhaul in Oregon.


An election law theory critics say could cause chaos is before the Supreme Court, lawmakers condemn former President Trump's idea to suspend the Constitution, and Democrats switch up the presidential primary calendar.


The first-ever "trout-safe" certification goes to an Idaho fish farm, the Healthy Housing Initiative helps improve rural communities' livability, and if Oklahoma is calling to you, a new database makes it easier for buyers and builders to find available lots.

Getting Creative to Fix Affordable Housing Issues in Rural Iowa


Wednesday, June 15, 2022   

Higher mortgage rates and skyrocketing rents have fueled the nation's housing crisis. In states like Iowa, rural communities deal with the same market issues, but they point to existing efforts as a blueprint to increase access.

In the past decade, housing growth in rural areas was roughly 3%, which is far below suburban areas.

Alissa O'Connor, director of the Humboldt County Development Association, said over the years, they have established programs to help smaller towns in their area counteract housing shortages.

"We do have a very successful building trades program," O'Connor pointed out. "We utilize the high school students to construct new, or renovate existing, homes."

She noted they have purchased land to spur development in subdivisions. But groups tracking the efforts say not all areas have equal resources, and detailed planning is needed to see what fits. Rising construction costs are seen as another barrier to building more homes in rural settings.

Johnathan Hladik, policy director at the Center for Rural Affairs, said small communities also may not have as many contractors available for new development. But in his view, it should not stop local leaders from being proactive. He noted the remote-work movement is adding to competition for residents.

"This is the moment where people are interested in living in a rural area, and a community needs to do what it can to attract them," Hladik explained. "You need to have housing stock, and you need to have a good broadband. And if you combine that with good schools and a good quality of life, you're going to be in a really good spot."

There are existing government programs towns can use to help increase housing stock and attract developers.

Sara Barron, executive director of the Johnson County Affordable Housing Coalition, said a lot of federal assistance often goes to large cities, leaving a local funding gap.

"Some of that can be funded by local and county governments," Barron acknowledged. "But especially for rural, smaller communities, it really requires that state investment."

Disclosure: The Center for Rural Affairs contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy and Priorities, Environment, Hunger/Food/Nutrition, and Rural/Farming Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

get more stories like this via email
Small cell facilities are often attached to utility poles within the public right-of-way. (Oxford Science/Wikimedia Commons)

Social Issues

Thousands of wireless transmitters could pop up across unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County in the next few years if the Board of Supervisors ap…

Health and Wellness

As winter looms in Missouri, health officials are expressing concern over the potential for three viruses to impact facilities. This season has …

Social Issues

Research says 80% of community-college students intend to transfer to complete a bachelor's degree, but only 14% do so within six years. …

Around 21 million American children receive free or reduced-price lunch at school, but only half of them receive free breakfast despite being eligible, according to New Hampshire Hunger Solutions. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Advocates for children say up to 7,000 students in New Hampshire public schools are going hungry following the rejection of a federal program for low-…

Social Issues

By Carrie Baker for Ms. Magazine.Broadcast version by Roz Brown for Texas News Service reporting for the Ms. Magazine-Public News Service …

A caucus is not an election; it's a political party gathering in which party members choose candidates for an election. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

For the first time in almost 50 years, Iowa will not hold the first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses for Democrats. The national party has ousted …

Health and Wellness

Nebraska is one of a dozen states experiencing "very high" levels of influenza, and the highest percentage of cases has been in children and young …


Tribal representatives from across the Northwest are flying into Washington, D.C. this week to discuss how mine waste in British Columbia is …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021