Albuquerque, Feb 23, 2011 -- USDA Rural Development State Director Terry Brunner reported today that 92 families from across New Mexico have inquired or applied for loans and grants to upgrade and fix their homes due to damages sustained during the recent bad weather.
In making the announcement, Brunner said, “Although the majority of applications and inquiries about our programs came from the Española and Taos area, we had numerous individuals across the state seeking information and applications on our rehabilitation program.” Brunner added, “This tells me that there is still a tremendous need throughout New Mexico and we are working diligently to provide some financial relief through our programs.”
Last week USDA Rural Development set up two special office days in Española and Taos to counsel families on how to apply for the rehabilitation funds offered by the agency. Both communities saw 24 families, each seeking information and applications on the 504 Housing Rehabilitation Program.
The office days followed the weather forum in Española that was held on February 15th where State Director Terry Brunner joined members of the New Mexico Congressional Delegation and other state and federal agencies to explain how to apply for financial help to replace or repair heating systems.
Also, in the last week, other USDA Rural Development offices helped an additional 44 families from across the state that were also seeking information or making an application for the program.
Although many have returned completed applications, the staff must now make sure that the applicant is qualified and eligible to receive grant or loan money. Each application must be thoroughly examined to ensure that the applicant is eligible for the financial assistance as determined by federal law, rules and regulations. The determination of each application will be made within the next few weeks.
The Section 504 Home Loan and Grant Program offered by Rural Development’s Housing Program provides financial help to very low-income rural residents who own and occupy a home in need of repairs. Funds can be used to improve or modernize a home, or to remove health and safety hazards. If eligible, the applicant may receive a once in a life time grant in the amount of $7,500. The applicant must be 62 years old or older, have a low income and show proof that they own the house to be rehabilitated. The loan program provides a 1% interest loan up to $20,000 that may be repaid over a 20-year period.
To apply for one of these loans, homeowner-occupants must be unable to obtain affordable credit elsewhere and must have a very low income. Very low income is defined as below 50 percent of the area median income. Grants are only available to homeowners who are 62 years old or older and cannot repay a Section 504 loan.
A real estate mortgage and full title services are required for loans of $7,500 or more. Grants have to be repaid if the property is sold in less than 3 years. Grant funds may only be used to pay for repairs and improvements resulting in the removal of health and safety hazards. A grant/loan combination is made if the applicant can repay part of the cost. Loans and grants can be combined for up to $27,500 in assistance.
Because this is not emergency funding, a person can apply for the financial assistance at any time during the year at any of the USDA Rural Development field offices.
Those applying for the funds are asked to bring the following:
• Warranty deed
• Verification of Income
• Cost estimates
• Proof of age for grant (62 years or older)
• List of debts presently being paid and account numbers and addresses of accounts
• Checking and savings account numbers
• Photo Id
• Income tax records for most recently filed income tax
• Property tax information
USDA Rural Development’s mission is to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural residents. Rural Development fosters growth in homeownership, finances business development, and supports the creation of critical community and technology infrastructure. Further information on rural programs is available at any local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA Rural Development’s web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov