Lincoln, Nebraska, Jun 10, 2011 -- USDA Rural Development is honoring National Homeownership month in June with a number of events across the state. This year’s Homeownership month theme is “Rural Housing/Rural Jobs.”
USDA Rural Development Nebraska State Director Maxine Moul said, “USDA is helping to build the foundation of a new rural economy that will be built on a set of pillars that combine the successful strategies of today and the compelling opportunities of tomorrow. Events in communities across the state will focus on housing’s role in creating jobs and stimulating economic activity.”
USDA Rural Development has been very successful in helping rural Nebraska residents to live the American dream of homeownership. Since 1979, Rural Development in Nebraska has assisted more than 19,750 families in becoming homeowners. March 2011 marked a milestone of more than one billion dollars of home loans made by the Agency in the state. For Fiscal Year 2011, USDA Rural Development in Nebraska received an allocation of almost $164 million for financing home loan purchases in rural communities.
Melissa Scott and her four children were displaced from their mobile home in Gordon, Nebraska after it sustained significant water damage from a ruptured water heater. The family moved in with Melissa’s parents in Rushville, Nebraska, 15 miles away from the Scott’s home. Because Melissa’s job and the children’s school are in Gordon, the commute became a financial burden due to the increased fuel prices. Thanks to USDA Rural Development’s Direct Housing Loan program, Melissa Scott purchased an affordable 840 square foot bungalow home with four bedrooms in Gordon that is close to the public schools and within walking distance to work.
Trish Hazen, who has a family of seven, was looking for a home to meet her children’s needs. A wheelchair accessible bathroom and ramp was needed for a daughter and laminate, vinyl or tile flooring was needed for the other children who deal with asthma and allergy issues. USDA Rural Development provided Trish with a construction loan for the purchase and remodeling of a home in Blue Hill, Nebraska which had been empty for 10 years. The home accommodates all the family’s needs. This home revitalization helped spur the local economy by using local retailers such as the town’s lumber company, an area flooring company and by providing work for seven different sub-contractors from around the Blue Hill area.
“Expanding and preserving homeownership is a major part of the foundation for a stronger, more prosperous rural America. While most Americans are familiar with the historic mission of USDA, many may not know that the Department plays a major role in helping to provide homeownership and home repair assistance to citizens living in rural communities. During an uncertain housing market, USDA Rural Development has helped contribute to the nation’s economic recovery,” said Moul.
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 these programs allow for 100% 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 however Norfolk and Columbus are eligible. USDA uses sound underwriting criteria to ensure borrowers are able to repay their loans. By doing so USDA Rural Development is helping to keep people in their homes. You can visit the Agency eligibility website at http://eligibility.sc.egov.usda.gov 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.
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.
Households interested in homeownership opportunities may contact their local USDA Rural Development office which can be located at: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/ne/Contact_Us.htm. Visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/ne for additional program information.