Success Story
Release No.STELPRD4010575
, Jun 09, 2011 --

Outline of Need:

Five years ago, Ashley Rogers took her first job teaching 6th, 7th and 8th graders at Vernonia Middle School in Vernonia, Oregon. Just out of college, Ashley took an apartment in this small town of roughly 2,300.

The city is located along the Nehalem River in northwest Oregon’s coastal mountain range. During the winter of 2007, heavy rains led to the worst flooding the town had seen in decades. About 340 homes, along with a number of public buildings, businesses and other structures, were devastated. Ashley’s apartment was among the flooded buildings. She temporarily relocated about 45 minutes from Vernonia but was able to return that summer.

How Rural Development Helped:

Ashley enjoyed living in the small, friendly and tight-knit community and decided to buy her first home in Vernonia.

Working with local realtor Sharon Bernal to identify options affordable for a young teacher, she learned about USDA Rural Development’s home loan guarantee program.

“I have had the opportunity to help a lot of first-time buyers see their homeownership dreams come true in Vernonia and other rural communities because of the availability of the 100-percent USDA loans,” Sharon said. “It is especially satisfying when I know so many of these first time homebuyers as children of the friends I grew up with here in Vernonia.”

The program guarantees loans made by private lenders to help borrowers secure favorable terms, including 100-percent financing, no mortgage insurance, and a reasonable fixed interest rate.

“The program made it possible for me to own a house. I wouldn’t have been able to do it otherwise,” Ashley said.

“It made the interest rate and payments as low as possible—it made the house affordable,” she explained.

The Results:

In November of 2009, Ashley moved into her first home, which she describes as “a cute little cottage built in the 1920’s, with a yard and lots of character.”

She is happy to put down roots in Vernonia and be a part of the community as it continues its post-flood revitalization.

--June 2011