Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s recent off-mic remark that he might eliminate HUD if elected president sparked much speculation in the news about what would happen if that agency were to disappear. Advocates agree that for the 2.5 million people helped by HUD-administered housing aid, HUD has a very meaningful impact.

Meanwhile, a profile of new NLIHC board member Emma “Pinky” Clifford shows the great need for decent, affordable housing in rural America and on tribal lands.

Of about 3,000 homes in Shannon County on the reservation in 2010, nearly 400 did not have full plumbing, and 330 did not have full kitchens, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. More than half of the homes — 1,875 — used some form of bottled gas for heat, and only 681 homes were connected to electric or utility gas heat. Most of the homes were worth about $18,600, according to the Census Bureau, and 54 percent of Shannon County residents lived below the poverty level.

Even when the need is so great, and the obstacles to meeting it can be so challenging, Pinky says she remains undaunted. “‘I love housing,’ she said. ‘It’s hard work, but when you see people in homes, and they’re in a safe and affordable home … it’s worth it.'”