Rapoza Associates is unique in our experience and commitment to federal rural development policies and programs. There is not a firm in Washington that has our skill set in rural housing, community facilities and economic development policy, and connections with Congress or federal agencies.
Rapoza Associates has long worked to develop initiatives to increase resources for Rural Development. In addition to developing and sustaining federal rural development funds, the firm most recently led a successful national advocacy effort in 2014 to expand eligibility to housing and community facilities programs at the Department of Agriculture.
Making affordable housing in rural communities a priority.
As noted on our Coalitions Building & Management page, Rapoza Associates manages the National Rural Housing Coalition (NRHC), representing the group for more than 30 years. NRHC is the umbrella organization for organizations and individuals interested in federal rural housing program and policy issues. In this capacity, we keep rural housing issues at the forefront of often reluctant or disinterested policymakers through a combination of old fashion shoe leather on Capitol Hill; action-oriented research documenting the success of current programs and the need to improve housing in rural communities; and mobilizing a small, but active membership of rural housing advocates across America. The results are clear: despite tight economic times, rural housing appropriations regularly exceed budget requests and funding for self-help housing, and low-income homeownership is on the rise.
Creating incentives for investments in rural water, sewer and community facilities.
Our longest standing client is the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP). RCAP is made of six regional organizations that work with rural communities on water, sewer and community facilities issues. Since 1981, Rapoza Associates has worked with RCAP to ensure that rural water sewer issues remain on the federal agenda and ensure that funding for their important work in available.
Among our efforts is RCAP funding from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). While other federal agencies, such as EPA and USDA, provide financing for systems and related technical assistance, HHS funding is tied to those communities that are too small and too poor to afford conventional federal financing. It is not unusual for the RCAPs to assist a community of 60 users in a trail park – such as John Deere, Missouri –with poor quality water or limit waste disposal facilities to find the financing to improve conditions.
No other federal agency provides the flexible funding available from HHS to work with these communities. However, the HHS bill is focused on health care and making the case for rural communities, water systems and poverty is challenging. Rapoza Associates has been success in maintaining RCAP funding, due in large measure to the success of RCAP in working with communities in need.
We get Rural America and know what it takes to make it a priority in Washington.
Rapoza Associates has a long track record on rural economic development, working with an informal coalition of rural nonprofit organizations to increase access to capital in communities often left outside the economic mainstream. For more details on our overall community and economic development work, please visit our pages on Small Business Lending & Access to Capital, as well as Community & Economic Development.