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Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
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Federal Reserve Board of Governors
Rural communities conference banner 2016



Tuesday, May 10, 2016

8:00 a.m.

Continental Breakfast Available

8:30 a.m.


Joseph Firschein, Deputy Associate Director, Division of Consumer and Community Affairs, Federal Reserve Board of Governors

8:45 a.m.

Perspectives on the Future of Rural Communities

Policymakers will provide their perspectives on the future of rural communities' economies and financial service needs, including relevant opportunities and challenges.

  • Moderator: Mil Duncan, Research Director, AGree
  • Panelists:
    • Eric Belsky, Director, Division of Consumer and Community Affairs, Federal Reserve Board of Governors
    • Julie Stackhouse, Executive Vice President, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
      Presentation (PDF)
    • Lisa Mensah, Under Secretary, Rural Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture
9:15 a.m.

The Realities of Rural America

Like the nation as a whole, rural communities are undergoing profound changes that are reshaping the daily experiences of many residents. This session will set the foundation for the day's discussions by exploring recent trends in the demographic, economic, and housing realities found in rural communities.

  • Moderator: Tony Hernandez, Administrator, Rural Housing Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Panelists:
    • John Cromartie, Geographer, Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture
      Presentation (PDF)
    • Emilia Istrate, Director of Research and Outreach, National Association of Counties
      Presentation (PDF)
    • Lance George, Director of Research and Information, Housing Assistance Council
      Presentation (PDF)
10:00 a.m.


10:15 a.m.

How Housing Matters for Rural Opportunity

Housing is a critical foundation upon which a wide array of life outcomes is based. This session will explore the unique housing opportunities and challenges facing rural communities. Experts will discuss how federal, state, and local policies help or hinder practitioners' work to supply housing units and credit to rural communities.

  • Moderator: Eileen Fitzgerald* , President, Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future
  • Panelists:
    • Jane Graf, President and Chief Executive Officer, Mercy Housing
    • Peter Carey*, Vice President of the Board, Housing Assistance Council
    • Katherine O'Regan, Assistant Secretary, Office of Policy Development and Research, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
    • Jim King*, President and Chief Executive Officer, FAHE
11:15 a.m.

Rural Economic Vitality

A functional housing market cannot exist without an economic base for its residents. This session will explore some of the key elements that are necessary to support strong rural economies, including adequate infrastructure, access to business and mortgage capital, the availability of quality housing, and the existence of robust social capital.

  • Moderator: Suzanne Anarde, Program Vice President, Rural LISC
  • Panelists:
    • Deborah Markley, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Center for Rural Entrepreneurship
    • Gabriel Garcia, President, Texas Association of Telecommunications Officers
    • Karama Neal, Chief Operating Officer, Southern Bancorp Community Partners
    • Janet Topolsky, Director, Community Strategies Group, Aspen Institute
12:30 p.m.



Rural Housing Demand: The Road Ahead

Rolf Pendall, Director, Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center, Urban Institute
Presentation (PDF)

1:30 p.m.

Aging in Rural America

Like the nation at large, the number of older Americans in many rural communities is increasing and becoming a larger percentage of the overall population. Important housing stock that serves this population is also aging and in need of repair or rehabilitation. These trends present a unique set of challenges and opportunities in rural communities. This session will explore the importance of housing's connections to health and service delivery in rural communities, the preservation and repair of aging stock, and projections on how population shifts in rural communities will affect future housing demand.

  • Moderator: Paul Weech, Chief Executive Officer, NeighborWorks America
  • Panelists:
    • Tom Collishaw*, President and Chief Executive Officer, Self-Help Enterprises
    • Michael Feinberg*, Senior Policy Analyst, Housing Assistance Council
      Presentation (PDF)
    • Nancy Rockett Eldridge, Executive Director, National Center for Healthy Housing
      Presentation (PDF)
    • Anand Parekh, Senior Advisor, Bipartisan Policy Center
3:00 p.m.


3:15 p.m.

The Diversifying of Rural America

The increasing diversity of rural communities and residents could have potential impacts on rural housing markets, including housing finance and development needs. This session will explore credit characteristics and wealth distribution across diverse rural residents, differences between urban and rural borrowers and loans, and how housing policy and programs work in rural communities.

  • Moderator: Anna Alvarez Boyd, Senior Associate Director, Division of Consumer and Community Affairs, Federal Reserve Board of Governors
  • Panelists:
    • Bill Emmons, Assistant Vice President, Executive Special Projects, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
      Presentation (PDF)
    • Nuno Mota, Economist, Fannie Mae
      Presentation (PDF)
    • Bernie Mazyck, President and Chief Executive Officer, South Carolina Association for Community Economic Development
    • David Adame, President and Chief Executive Officer, Chicanos Por La Causa
4:45 p.m.

Looking Forward to the Future

This session will reflect on the day's conversation and explore what questions we need to answer today in order to prepare for the rural housing needs of tomorrow.

  • Moderator: Miriam Axel-Lute, Associate Director and Editor, Shelterforce
  • Panelists:
    • John Henneberger, Co-Director, Texas Low Income Housing Information Service
    • Martin Sundquist, Executive Director, Wells Fargo Foundation
    • Erika Poethig, Institute Fellow and Director, Urban Policy Initiatives, Urban Institute
    • Bill Bynum, Chief Executive Officer, HOPE Enterprise
5:30 p.m.-
7:00 p.m.


* Board Member of the National Rural Housing Coalition

Last update: March 16, 2017