Visit urban or suburban neighborhood across the United States and you will find exciting housing renewal projects dotting the skylines. Colorful signs with terms like “luxury apartments” followed by “now leasing” are rampant. Recently, the NACo Affordable Housing Toolkit reported 34% of all American households are burdened by housing costs, spending more than 30% of their income on housing. However, the issue is not unique to cities or suburbs , with rural counties such as Bucks County, Penn. and Fall River County, S.D. also burdened by housing costs; these counties show 28.7% and 25.8% cost-burdened residents, respectively.
What impact does the burden of unaffordable housing have on a family’s financial or physical health? What are the ramifications regarding equity?
This year’s NACo and County Health Rankings & Roadmaps Rural Impact County Challenge (RICC) Action Learning Cohort will focus on addressing these questions—examining affordable housing and its impact on health equity in rural counties. Teams of county participants will embark on a ten-month learning journey that includes peer exchanges and expert advising through both in-person and online meetings.
Activities throughout the ten months are designed to help communities work more effectively to understand their problems and areas of opportunity, as well as to develop strategies to address them. NACo is proud to continue the partnership with County Health Rankings & Roadmaps to again offer an in-depth community learning program to members of NACo.
County Health Rankings & Roadmaps staff will work with selected county teams to provide guidance tailored to each participating county. Partnerships or coalitions may be any size, but a working team of 3-5 members of will join a regular cohort of participants in the monthly (or more frequent) video calls. Two of these team members will be provided travel support to attend a one-and-a-half day in-person meeting in January 2020. The group will also meet the afternoon of October 10 prior to the Rural Action Caucus meeting in Lake Placid, N.Y. Participating RICC teams will have the opportunity to work closely with each other, forming a close network of rural counties carrying out similar work.
Have questions? To learn more, schedule time to speak with a County Health Rankings & Roadmaps Action Learning Coach by clicking here. Ready to dive in and apply? Click here. Applications are being accepted now and are due Thursday, August 22.
Selected county teams will be notified in early September and asked to attend the Rural Action Caucus Symposium this October in Lake Placid, N.Y. The RICC program will launch September 26 and continue through the NACo Annual Meeting in July 2020. Applicants must be NACo members.
Also interested in discussing strategies that can help spur economic development in rural communities? Register now to join County Health Rankings & Roadmaps’ two-part Peer-to-Peer Virtual Learning Series on strengthening rural economies on August 15 and August 29.
Funding for the RICC program is generously provided in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.