Quadel Manager Matt Gronaw works with PHAs across the country to improve program operations and compliance.

The need for affordable housing is everywhere, and the need is often great in rural areas of the country. Like large, metropolitan public housing authorities (PHAs), rural PHAs face funding and unit shortages. They also face unique challenges that require dedicated efforts and innovative strategies. Quadel Manager, Matt Gronaw, discusses these daily challenges in this week’s blog.

Lack of Active Landlords

Gronaw noted rural landlords might be less active in affordable housing programs than their metropolitan counterparts. PHA staff should strive to engage landlords through various opportunities, including landlord briefings and program presentations.

“Many localities have interested groups consisting of landlords and property owners that hold regular meetings. It can be extremely helpful for managers in housing authorities in rural areas to look to these groups to assist,” Gronaw said. “PHAs should present information about the program during these meetings whenever possible. Even attending every six (6) months can help get information out to landlords.”

Lack of Compliant Units

All potential units must pass inspection standards to be part of affordable housing programs, including public housing and housing choice voucher programs. Gronaw said rural landlords might be frustrated by investments to meet program compliance.

“It can be difficult to strike the proper balance that encourages landlord participation while enforcing rules property owners may find onerous. It is important to remember property owners and landlords are vital stakeholders in the rental process,” Gronaw said. “The housing stock in these areas may not always be older than those found in large metropolitan cities, but these units may be more likely to need upgrades such as reasonable accommodations for disabled family members that a landlord in a rural area may not desire to undertake.”

Lack of High-Opportunity Areas

Research shows living in areas of high opportunity benefits everyone, especially children. HUD determines high-opportunity areas by access to important resources such as good schools, jobs, healthcare, and public transportation systems. Rural PHAs may have program mobility struggles because of a lack of high-opportunity areas for resident relocation.

“Participant mobility can impact the effectiveness of a housing program in rural areas. In large rural communities, applicants and participants may have to travel further to search for housing. Many rural areas still maintain local public transit routes, albeit on smaller busses and with less frequency,” Gronaw said. “It behooves housing program managers in these areas to look for this community information and make it available to visitors and participants. Doing this will hopefully expand participant housing searches into areas that benefit them the most.”

Quadel works with rural PHAs across the country to improve program operations. To see how Quadel can help your PHA, request a quote today.