Rural Opportunities Inc., a multistate rural development organization based in Rochester, N.Y., has announced the formation of a partnership with Fannie Mae to protect affordable rental properties in the Northeast."The net loss of affordable units in rural communities is of particular concern in the face of mounting challenges to the development of new projects in smaller communities," said Lee Beaulac Sr., vice president of ROI, which is part of the national NeighborWorks network. The ROI/Fannie Mae partnership will focus in particular on properties that have been financed by the Department of Agriculture's Rural Housing Service and, to a lesser extent, by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Fannie and ROI were joined in the announcement by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., who "played a key role in encouraging the formation of the partnership," they said. Fannie Mae can be found online at http://www.fanniemae.com.

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