Tester Presses Housing Experts on Rural America Shortages & Affordability
During Senate Banking hearing, Tester emphasizes need to cut red tape, work together to find solutions that work for rural communities
In his continued push to lower costs and address affordable housing shortages in Montana, U.S. Senator Jon Tester today pressed national housing experts on solutions to the affordable housing crisis in rural America. During the hearing, Tester questioned witnesses from the NeighborWorks Association, the Cato Institute, and the National Low Income Housing Coalition about the housing crisis, and solicited solutions that work specifically for rural communities.
“Everywhere I go in Montana, I hear about the lack of affordable housing,” Tester said after the hearing. “It’s killing rural America, and it’s driving folks out of the communities they’ve lived in their whole lives. Too often, one-size-fits-all policies from Washington don’t work for Montana, and that’s why it’s critical we work with folks on the ground on solutions that actually work to increase affordable housing supply in our rural communities.”
Tester has been Montana’s leading champion for rural housing accessibility. In April of 2021, Tester secured more than $15 million in U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to support affordable housing construction, purchasing, and rehabilitation for low- and very low income- families. Tester was the only member of the Montana delegation to vote in support of this funding.
In January of 2021, he secured a commitment from HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge that she would work to break down silos preventing affordable housing for Montana workers and Tribes from being built and maintained.
Last December, Tester secured significant wins for housing affordability in the 2023 government funding package, including $85 million for a new “Yes in My Back Yard” grant program, $225 million for manufactured housing preservation and revitalization, $170 million for Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation (NeighborWorks), and $12.5 million for the Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP). That same month, he secured more than $637,000 for housing accessibility in Helena through U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development’s Mutual Self-Help Housing Technical Assistance Grant Program.