Jun 24, 2019
Let’s start with this statistic: One in five Americans lives in rural America. And these communities are far more diverse than the archetypical bucolic New England town. They include tribal lands, the Mississippi Delta, border Colonias, and Appalachia where the legacies of injustice include a lack of access to the capital needed to build homes and multi-family housing. As David Lipsetz, CEO of Housing Assistance Council (HAC), tells Power Station, these communities are home to rich histories, assets and opportunities. But in many cases, they are also epicenters, over decades, of persistent poverty.
A product of rural towns, David has spent his career laser focused on changing the fortunes of rural Americans. Before leading Housing Assistance Council, he worked in the Obama Administration at both HUD and USDA. He knows first-hand, the difference federal investment can make in struggling communities. He is keenly aware of the mismatch between federal housing policies, which are geared towards urban areas, and what is needed to develop housing in rural America. Because HAC has devoted itself to bridging these gaps, it is well-known as a fierce champion for meeting housing and community development needs in rural areas. As a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), HAC is a lender in places that traditional banks do not serve. And HAC also conducts rigorous research on the state of housing in rural America and its analysis undergirds the development of progressive housing policy. David and his team know what is needed to make positive change happen. They are doing the work and are calling on the philanthropic and policy making sectors to go all in with them.