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News Release
Release No. STELPRD4010586
ContactVicki Schurman402-437-5563
Printable Version  Printable Version

Lincoln, Nebraska, Jun 10, 2011 -- USDA Rural Development Nebraska State Director Maxine Moul and staff celebrated National Homeownership Month today in Norfolk, Nebraska with the tour of one of three recently built homes that are financed by USDA Rural Development. This year’s National Homeownership Month’s theme is “Rural Housing/Rural Jobs.”

“I congratulate the families on their new roles as homeowners,” said Nebraska State Director Maxine Moul, USDA Rural Development. “A home is not only a financial opportunity but is also an investment to the family and community. Partnering was key in bringing homeownership to these families. We look forward to working with our partners to assist many more households with their housing needs.”

The Norfolk Housing Agency, Northeast Nebraska Economic Development District and USDA Rural Development worked hand in hand in affording the homeownership opportunities. The City of Norfolk, acting through the Norfolk Housing Agency, worked with USDA Rural Development through a Community Revitalization program. The City had received funding from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) in 2007 and 2008. These grants, written and administered by the Northeast Nebraska Economic Development District (NENEDD), are available to demolish dilapidated properties within the city limits. They also allow funds to be allocated to low-to-moderate income families in the form of construction subsidies and down payment assistance. The partnering generated benefits beyond that of homeownership. This process helped to clean up and revitalize a neighborhood by demolishing a dilapidated property and replacing it with a nice, new home built by CDM Builders. The demolition and building process helped generate local business and employment.

“The opportunity to provide work to contractors during a down economy, and to provide an affordable home to families who otherwise may not have been able to own a home, has been a win-win in Norfolk.  Additionally, working with our partners has been a very positive experience.  Gary Bretschneider, Housing Coordinator for the Housing Division, has been an instrumental person in helping the Housing Division effectively partner with USDA Rural Development and NENEDD,” said Sheila Miller, executive director for Norfolk Housing Division.

Maribel Bernal and her two children were one family who benefited from the partnership effort. Maribel and family, who had been living with her parents, were able to buy a 1,056 square foot three bedroom home of their own. Katie Bowens and her family had been renting an apartment for five years. Again, due to this partnership effort, Katie was able to achieve her dream of homeownership. USDA Rural Development provided 100 percent financing through the Rural Housing Direct loan program for the newly built, less than $100,000 homes.

A third home will be closed on later this month making another homeownership opportunity available to a rural household.

"During these economic times it is more important than ever for local, state and federal agencies to pool their assets together in order to better serve families in rural Nebraska,” said Thomas L. Higginbotham Jr., executive director for Northeast Nebraska Economic Development District.

USDA Rural Development has two loan programs that provide affordable homeownership opportunities to rural Americans: the Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan program, and the Single Family Housing Direct Loan program. Both of these programs allow for 100 percent financing and affordable rates and terms. Eligibility is based on income, acceptable credit and repayment ability and the property must be located in rural areas with populations not exceeding 20,000 but including Norfolk and Columbus. You can visit the Agency eligibility website at to determine if you are within the established income limit based on the size of household and county and if the property is located within an eligible area.

USDA Rural Development has been very successful in helping rural residents in Nebraska live the American dream of homeownership. Since 1979, Rural Development has assisted more than 19,750 families become homeowners in rural Nebraska. March 2011 marked a milestone of more than one billion dollars of home loans made by the Agency in Nebraska. For Fiscal Year 2011, USDA Rural Development in Nebraska received an allocation of almost $164 million for financing home loan purchases in rural communities.

Housing not only provides a safe home for families, but also generates economic activity through construction jobs and results in direct real estate industry impacts relating to Realtors, banks, title companies, insurance, home furnishing sales, etc. Housing supports communities through an increased tax base and provides an available workforce. Available housing is important in bringing businesses to a community and provides a place “where jobs sleep” and allows families to live in communities where they work and reduce energy costs.

For more information contact Jeff Carpenter at (402) 371-5350 ext. 1020 or Visit:

Last Modified:04/24/2012 
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