News Release
Release No.STELPRD4011216
ContactJoan Messina217-403-6248
Help with Home Purchase
Marseilles, IL, Jun 27, 2011 --

@@Contact: Joan Messina (217) 403-6248

Marseilles Woman Finds Unexpected Help Buying a Home

Marseilles, Ill., June 27, 2011—Help buying a home may be closer than you think. That’s what Sandra Bivens from Marseilles found out when the home she was renting was scheduled to be sold. Because she had a dog, she decided it would be best to buy a home, but some hurdles stood in her way.

The solution turned out to be just down the road. Bivens scheduled a meeting with Jan Studer, a Rural Development Housing Specialist in Ottawa. Bivens was approved for an affordable home loan that required no down payment or mortgage insurance, and came with a fixed reduced interest rate and a 33-year term. Still, she couldn’t find a house that fit her needs for the money she had saved.

Studer put Bivens in touch with Susie Welch, a homebuyer counselor with Tri-County Opportunities Council (TCOC). They provided Bivens with homebuyer education, credit counseling, an $8,000 down payment, $2,000 in closing costs, and $25,000 to make needed improvements to the home.

“USDA Rural Development frequently works with organizations like Tri-County Opportunities Council to help home buyers clear the hurdles that stand in the way of purchasing a home,” said State Rural Development Director Colleen Callahan. “June is National Homeownership Month, and we want to let people know about the resources available to help them buy a home.

“We frequently partner with TCOC and other non-profit agencies to make sure homebuyers with limited income find the resources they need to become successful homeowners,” she said. “The people we invest in become more invested in their communities and help to ensure that rural towns have a stable workforce. Our housing programs stimulate economic activity which, in turn, means rural jobs.”

TCOC is a Community Action Agency serving nine east central Illinois counties. To be eligible for their homebuyer financing programs, families need to meet the income guidelines, have a good credit history and have savings of at least $1,000 to put toward the down payment. Purchasers need to be pre-qualified through TCOC before starting a home search. Current homeowners may qualify for help weatherizing their homes. More information on TCOC programs is available at or by calling 1-800-323-5434.

Rural Development offers affordable direct home loans for homebuyers with low income. The loans can be used to purchase homes in communities with up to 20,000 residents and do not require a down payment or monthly mortgage insurance. These loans offer subsidized interest rates and up to a 38 year term. Maximum loan limits apply for direct loans and vary by county.


Rural Development also offers loan guarantees for homebuyers with moderate income who lack adequate funding for down payments. Home repair loans may be available to very low income homeowners at one percent interest for up to 20 years. More information on Rural Development’s housing programs is available by calling the Ottawa office at (815) 433-0551 ext. 4 or by checking online at

Rural Development has more than 40 programs that foster growth and economic stability in rural areas by providing affordable financing and technical assistance. Support is available for regional food systems, broadband and biofuel infrastructure, homeownership, business development and community needs. USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.