The North Central Regional Center for Rural Development (NCRCRD) is pleased to announce the formation and funding of our first North Central Region thematic, multi-state working group. Led by principal investigator Lisa Bates of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, the North Central Region (NCR) Housing Working Group will address what is often considered one of the most important problems for rural communities across the country — the lack of safe, affordable housing accessible to all residents. Collaborating across state boundaries, the NCR Housing Working Group aims to develop research-based rural housing resources and programming to improve rural housing conditions across the region.

Currently, seven North Central Region land-grant institutions plan to participate in the working group and include: Iowa State University, Kansas State University, Michigan State University, Purdue University, University of Illinois, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and University of Wisconsin. Because housing disproportionately impacts underserved communities negatively, the NCR Housing Working Group is committed to working toward the improvement in housing solutions that affect an equally diverse segment of the population across the region.

“Each of the seven universities come to this working group at varying degrees of programming to address housing in their respective states. This project will provide the resources to bring these North Central Region states to a common approach to effectively address rural housing. It will also push the boundaries of each of our participating states when it comes to addressing the equity in which rural housing is addressed in concert across the region,” added Bates.

“NCRCRD is pleased to support the Housing Working Group and their proposed outcomes,” said NCRCRD Director, Maria Marshall. “Their approach to equity and inclusion has the potential to make a big impact on improving rural housing in our region.”

Project Summary
The NCR housing working group received a 3-year grant from the NCRCRD totaling $47,734. Each year of the funded project, the group will share their findings and progress with the broader North Central Region in an NCRCRD-hosted webinar.

Project Title: Collaborate, Scan, Develop: A Multi-State DEI Rural Housing Program Based in the
North Central Region
Principal Investigator: Lisa Bates, Iowa State University
Start Date: September 1, 2023
NCRCRD Priority Area: Creating Resilient Communities

NCRCRD offers multiple types of grants each year to enhance the ability of the North Central Region’s thirty-four land-grant institutions to positively influence the quality of life in the region’s rural areas. In addition to funding Thematic Working Groups, NCRCRD also offers Small Grants for Rural Development Research and/or Extension Projects, the NCR 1994 Land Grant Innovation Grants, and the NCR Extension Collaboration and Implementation Grants. NCRCRD list of grants:

All grant submissions are reviewed by the NCRCRD advisory committee and based on their recommendations, the NCRCRD board selects the final recipients. Because NCRCRD receives its core funding from the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA), the grants are also reviewed and approved by the USDA for consistency with Federal guidelines.

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The North Central Regional Center for Rural (NCRCRD) is one of four Regional Rural Development Centers in the United States. NCRCRD’s work links the research and educational outreach capacity of our region’s 34 land-grant universities with our region’s communities, local decision-makers, entrepreneurs, families, farmers, and ranchers to help address a wide range of development issues unique to our 12-state region. NCRCRD promotes regional collaboration by elevating the research and extension programs in our region; offering grant opportunities to support new and ongoing regional research, extension, and integrated activities; establishing a North Central Region dataset to encourage regional exploration; and creating networking opportunities through webinars, sponsorships, and making introductions between our partners. For more information, please visit

NCRCRD receives core funds from the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA) as well as from the North Central Regional Association of State Agricultural Experiment Station Directors (NCRA), North Central Cooperatives of Extension Association (NCCEA), and Purdue University, College of Agriculture.

For more information contact:
Mary Breidenbach, Communication Specialist, NCRCRD

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