CAMBRIDGE, Minn., Jun 20, 2011 -- Chris Olson wants single fathers to know that home ownership is possible. Olson recently became a proud homeowner in Cambridge, where he is able to raise his son with the help of a spacious back yard and a sense of pride that comes with owning your own home.
Olson was recognized on Monday by USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer during a special June Homeownership Month event at Olson’s home. Olson used Rural Development’s direct home loan program to achieve his goal of home ownership.
“It’s rewarding to see firsthand how USDA Rural Development’s homeownership programs have impacted the lives of people like Chris,” Landkamer said. “Homeownership not only gives people a sense of ownership in their community, it also creates jobs and boosts the regional economy.”
According to the National Association of Realtors, the sale of an existing median-priced home generates over $58,000 in economic activity. This includes over $15,000 in direct real estate industry supports, $5,000 in home furnishings, appliances and landscaping and almost $10,000 in stimulated economic activity. New home sales generate even more activity, including construction costs, materials and jobs.
USDA Rural Development has invested over $1 billion and helped thousands of individuals and families achieve home ownership in rural Minnesota since 2009.
“It’s a great program,” Olson said. “It’s really helped us out a lot and we need to make sure that everyone knows about it.”
Olson used Rural Development’s direct home loan program, which is targeted at low-income borrowers unable to qualify for traditional financing. Applicants must meet credit requirements and demonstrate repayment ability. A payment subsidy could lower the interest rate on direct home loans to one percent.
Rural Development also offers a home loan guarantee program. The guarantee program is intended for median income applicants and “guarantees” loans through traditional lenders such as banks mortgage lenders.
Home repair financing also is available through Rural Development. Low- and very-low income homeowners can receive loans up to $20,000 repayable over 20 years with a one percent interest rate to replace a roof, install a new furnace, replace siding, install window, pay for utility assessments and make other home repairs. Grants up to $7,500 are available to homeowners over the age of 62 and must be used to remove health or safety hazards.
All of Rural Development’s home loan and repair programs are open to qualified applicants living in a rural community of 20,000 people or less regardless of race, color, gender, religion, sexual orientation, marital or family status and disability.
To learn more, visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/mn, or call the area office in Cambridge at (763) 689-3354, ext. 4.
To learn more about the USDA’s Hispanic and Women farmer’s claim process, visit www.farmerclaims.gov.