Chambersburg, PA, Jun 14, 2012 -- Two USDA officials celebrated National Homeownership Month in Pennsylvania and reminded rural residents of opportunities to purchase or refinance homes in rural areas.
“This is a great time to buy a home,” said John Padalino, Acting Administrator for Rural Business Services. “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.
“Today we’re recognizing Willie Hall for participating in Rural Development’s 502 Direct Home Mortgage Program,” said USDA Rural Development Pennsylvania State Director Thomas Williams. “Through this loan program, Mr. Hall and his family were able to make the transition from renters to homeowners with the purchase of a 3-bedroom home in Chambersburg.”
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.
Vilsack noted that USDA uses solid underwriting criteria to ensure borrowers are able to repay their loans. By doing so, the department is 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.
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. A list of these offices is available at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/StateOfficeAddresses.html.
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 programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $165 billion in affordable 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 America.
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).