News Release
Release No.STELPRD4012857
ContactCandice Celestin(315) 399-8393
Syracuse, NY, Oct 22, 2011 --

@@USDA Rural Development (RD) and Habitat for Humanity (HFH) celebrated with Angelina Pellegino, a single mom and her two daughters for the purchase of their new home. USDA Rural Development provided a low interest direct loan to purchase a recently rehabilitated home from Habitat for Humanity for the Pellegrino family. Angelina Pellegrino, and her two daughters Mikalina and Carmelina spent the past 8 years renting an apartment in “Cardboard City,” aptly named because of the lack of insulation and sky high heating costs.

  Leveraging funds and resources, USDA Rural Development provided a $63,500 loan; which, along with a $30,000 forgivable mortgage from HFH allowed her to purchase the rehabilitated home. The help of over 90 volunteers and 300+ hours of sweat equity by Ms. Pellegrino, drastically improved the house to include energy efficient features such as new thermal pane windows, high efficiency furnace and new siding. Several community members assisted in the efforts including home improvement stores, local housing inspectors, and even the neighborhood donut shops that provided free coffee and doughnuts each day to the volunteers, making this a truly collaborative project.

“This project is illustrative of how Habitat for Humanity and USDA can work together to rehabilitate existing housing stock and build new homes, essential to increasing economic opportunities in New York’s rural communities,” Harvey added. “Jobs are created, communities come together, neighbors help neighbors and affordable homeownership is made possible for this family in Batavia.”   

   The Pellegrino family was chosen for the HFH project from a pool of almost 40 applicants. While Angelina admits the process took almost 2 1/2 years, she says it was worth every minute and has come to know many of the volunteers. “Everything happens for a reason, this house was a labor of love. With every single person who dedicated their precious time to help improve a stranger’s life, I call them Angels on Earth.”

  The innovative financing is unique to this HFH chapter. Rather than HFH holding the mortgage, Angelina was able to purchase the home with the assistance of a low interest loan from USDA Rural Development. This enabled HFH to replenish its revolving loan fund. “The success of our next house, which we've just started, hinges on the proceeds of this current houses' sale.” said Tammy Hyman, HFH, Genesee County President. Remarkably, Ms. Pellegrino’s mortgage payment will be lower than her rent payment.

  USDA Rural Development’s mission is to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural residents. Rural Development fosters growth in homeownership, finances business development, and supports the creation of critical community and technology infrastructure. For more information on USDA Rural Development programs, contact Rural Development’s state office at (315) 477-6400, or visit the Rural Development web site at