News Release
Release No.STELPRD4016689
ContactDeborah Callahan706-546-2162
Opportunities Available for Homeowners to Secure Lower Mortgage Rates
Georgia (Statewide), Jun 07, 2012 --

@@ ATHENS, GA, June 7, 2012 – Earlier this week, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack kicked off National Homeownership Month and reminded rural residents of opportunities to purchase or refinance homes in rural areas.

“This is a great time to buy a home,” Vilsack said. “Interest rates are at or near record lows, and housing prices are more affordable than they’ve been in nearly a generation. The Obama Administration housing’s policies are helping to strengthen rural communities and driving the nation’s ongoing economic recovery forward.”

National Homeownership Month is celebrated every year in June. Throughout the month, USDA will hold events to highlight the ways Rural Development programs provide affordable homeownership opportunities. Georgia USDA Rural Development is Celebrating National Home Ownership Month with a variety of events: Anyone interested in learning more about USDA - Rural Development housing programs can visit any one of our scheduled events this month that are listed below or visit our website at . All events are free and open to the public and media.

June 8, 2012 at 11:00amTwiggs County, Shovel presentation to celebrate the ground breaking of new dwelling for a Disabled Borrower. The Non Profit Organization that is building this home is People Helping People United, Inc..  Lowe’s Home Improvement will have volunteers there donating labor. WMAZ-TV is scheduled to attend.

June 9, 2012 from 10:00am to 3:00pm Peach County, informational booth located at the Peach Festival – DOWNTOWN Fort Valley, GA

June 12, 2012 from 9:00am-12:00pm -- Jasper County, Workshop in Monticello, Ga. to promote Homeownership month located at: The Jasper County Community Food Bank, 139 W. Washington Street, Monticello, GA 31064

June 12, 2012 from 9:00am-12:00pm --- Jasper County, Staff to volunteer located at:

The Jasper County Community Food Bank, 139 W. Washington Street, Monticello, GA 31064

June 13, 2012 from 10:00am – 12:00pm--Talbot County, Homeownership workshop Location:

Talbotton Public Library, 75 N Jefferson Ave, Talbotton, GA 31827 (706) 665-3134

June 14, 2012 from 1:30pm-3:00pm Barrow County, Representatives from USDA Rural Development and Homestar Financial will be attending this question and answer open house for the Rural Development Direct and Guaranteed loan programs.  If you have questions, please come and ask these experienced professionals located at: Maynard and Bartlett, 31 S. Center St.,Winder, Ga. 30680 Phone: (770) 868-4640

June 18, 2012 from 10:00am to 11:30am-- McDuffie County, Workshop to educate realtors, contractors, business and community leaders about our programs. Located at: McDuffie County Library, 338 Main Street, Thomson Georgia 30824

June 18, 2012 from 2:00pm to 3:30pmHancock County, Workshop. The focus of this program will be to discuss our housing programs and to review credit and other obstacles to homeownership. Located at:

Hancock County Library, 8984 East Broad Street ,Sparta, Georgia 31087 Phone: (706) 444-5389

June 20, 2012— from 8:30am to 10:00am- Randolph County - Home Ownership Workshop

FOR: Randolph, Quitman and Clay counties located at: Randolph County Learning Center

1210 Andrew Street, Cuthbert, GA 39840-5033

June 20, 2012 from 10:00am to 3:00pm Pierce County, Open House at USDA Rural Development Office. Located at: USDA Rural Development, 707 Hendry Street, Blackshear, GA 31516 Phone: (912) 449-5577

June 20, 2012— from 11:30am to 1:00pm Sumter County - Home Ownership Workshop

FOR: Sumter, Webster and Stewart Counties located at: The Lake Blackshear Regional Library

307 E Lamar Street, Americus GA 31709

June 20, 2012— from 3:00pm to 4:00pm Terrell County - Home Ownership Workshop

FOR: Lee and Terrell Counties located at our DAWSON office. 

USDA Rural Development, 955 Forrester Drive, SE, Dawson, GA 39842 Phone: (229)995-5811

June 26, 2012 from 3:00pm to 7:00pm Glynn County - Home Ownership Workshop

Hosted by: USDA Rural Development and Totally Free, Inc.

Located at: Embassy Suites Conference Room, 500 Mall Blvd, Brunswick, GA, Phone: (912) 264-6100

Rural Development has programs to help people refinance as well as buy homes. In February, Secretary Vilsack announced a 19-state pilot program for homeowners to get lower monthly mortgage payments. The refinance program is available to rural residents with mortgages issued or backed by USDA Rural Development. It is part of President Obama’s ongoing efforts to help middle-class families, create jobs and strengthen the economy. It will save homeowners time and money and help ensure that hardworking, creditworthy borrowers protect their investment and remain in their homes.

USDA also provides loans and grant funds to help rural homeowners repair their homes and to assist affordable rural rental property owners repair their properties. The Secretary announced last month that USDA is accepting grant applications from qualified organizations for repairs, health, safety and accessibility improvements. The application deadline is June 25. For information on how to apply, please see page 27179 of the May 9, 2012 Federal Register or go to

Vilsack noted that Rural Development’s housing portfolio is sound.  It does not include subprime and exotic loans such as so-called “no doc” loans. USDA uses solid underwriting criteria to ensure borrowers are able to repay their loans. By doing so, we’re helping to keep people in their homes.

Since the start of the Obama Administration, USDA has helped more than 520,000 rural families buy a home. For example, Rural Development helped Alan Hayes of West Point Georgia, buy his first home. For many years Mr. Hayes lived in a mold infested, dilapidated home. The home was unsafe and the rent was higher than his present mortgage payment. Rural Development was able to provide Mr. Hayes a loan for his purchase of a decent, safe and sanitary home. Mr. Hayes says he smiles every day he wakes up and is grateful for his new three-bedroom, two bathroom home in West Point, Georgia. His dogs love playing in the yard.

Vilsack noted that In Fiscal year 2011, approximately 17 percent of Single Family Housing homeownership opportunities were provided to individuals and families that identified themselves as members of minority groups. Over 25,500 of the loans obligated (made) by USDA went to minority homeowners.

Owning a home is the American Dream. For more than 60 years, USDA has helped rural residents realize this dream through guaranteed (by lender partners) and direct loans. USDA Rural Development has funds available now through the Single Family Housing Direct Loan program to help low-income rural families become homeowners.  Interested parties should contact the nearest USDA Rural Development office.  An interactive map for finding local offices is available at

Since taking office, President Obama’s Administration has taken historic steps to improve the lives of rural Americans, put people back to work and build thriving economies in rural communities. From proposing the American Jobs Act to establishing the first-ever White House Rural Council – chaired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack – the President is committed to using Federal resources more efficiently to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $165 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural areas.


USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay).