A few months ago, we all were faced with major panic. But the good news was we survived, albeit relatively intact.
Now? We are under attack again and our rural communities are in serious jeopardy.
Next week the Senate will be acting on H.R. 2112, the Agriculture Appropriations bill for the year which began October 1. Senator Coburn (R) from Oklahoma has introduced an amendment which would slash the USDA Rural Development budget by $1 Billion. This would be an across the board 44 percent cut from the proposed $2.4 Billion budget, on top of cuts already in the proposed budget.
May I say that again? 44% CUT ACROSS THE BOARD!!!
If adopted, there would be significant cuts to the Mutual Self-Help Housing Program. You know, the program where very-low to low-income families dedicate their nights and weekends to responsibly achieve their dreams of homeownership. The very same program that the US Office of Management and Budget (OMB) referred to as "the only direct Federal lending mortgage program that is means tested and offers subsidized loans. It specifically targets low and very low-income rural residents for homeownership. Additionally, because the borrower has to prove that he/she cannot get credit elsewhere it is unlikely that a private or state program would be able to provide assistance similar to this program.” Yes, yes this very same program that has made substantial contributions to local communities, businesses, and residents for over 40 years, having created over 45,000 homeownership opportunities for lower income families living in rural areas is under attack again.
So what can we do?
First, sign the letter of opposition. Please join us in this fight to save Self-Help once again by signing onto the National Rural Housing Coalition's letter opposing the Coburn amendment. It only takes a minute to complete, but you only have until Friday. So please, please, click the link, sign your name and then forward to anyone and everyone you know to support our efforts. Forward onto your communities, vendors, contractors, Self-Help participants, and partners.
Second, call your senator. Let your elected officials that you won't stand for the negative, cursive language used in the Coburn amendment. If you're not sure who to call, check out the link above for contact information.
And if you want some reading material, have a look through Senator Coburn's explanation for the amendment.
Don't forget - we've only got until Friday, so spread the word and spread it quickly!!! Rural America is in serious jeopardy and I'm not having it anymore.