News Release
Release No.STELPRD4017494
ContactKatherine Belcher859.224.7306
Lexington, KY, Jul 17, 2012 --

@@USDA Rural Development has partnered with the Morehead Area Habitat for Humanity to help a Rowan County single mother build and purchase her first home.

Suzanna Hoskins was homeless when she came to Habitat for Humanity office in Morehead. She was caring for three children between the ages of four and 10. She was not looking for a handout, but rather a hand up – and Habitat was glad to assist, as was Rural Development. Her new home will have three bedrooms and two baths and will be super-insulated and energy-efficient – with utilities expected to cost approximately $15 per month. Hoskins is required to provide a maximum of 500 sweat equity hours toward the build and complete a homeownership counseling class.

State Director Tom Fern said Rural Development provides affordable opportunities to help low and moderate income families in rural areas purchase single-family homes through its 502 Direct and Guaranteed Loan programs.

“It is a real pleasure to collaborate with the Morehead Area Habitat for Humanity, which is doing tremendous work here in Rowan County,” said Fern. “Owning a home is the American dream, and helping this family achieve the dream of home ownership is incredibly rewarding and worthwhile.”

Mary Shearer, Executive Director for Kentucky Habitat for Humanity, said this project marks the first time that Habitat has partnered with Rural Development.

“Both organizations are committed to serving low- income Kentucky families and helping them realize their dream of a simple decent and affordable home in which to live and raise their families,” said Shearer. “I look forward to the success of this partnership being a catalyst for many of our other 51 Habitat affiliates forming partnerships with USDA to build capacity, serve more families in need and to build community strength. Habitat for Humanity is very excited about this initiative and looks forward to many years of success with many more families served.”

Rural Development offers more than homeownership programs. In February, the agency launched a pilot program to help rural borrowers refinance their mortgages to reduce their monthly payments. This initiative is part of the Administration’s ongoing efforts to help middle class families, create jobs, and strengthen the economy. The Single Family Housing Guaranteed Rural Refinance Pilot Program will operate in 19 states, including Kentucky, for homeowners who have loans that were made or guaranteed by Rural Development. These states are among those hardest hit by the downturn in the housing market, and Kentucky has more than 17,500 homeowners with loans guaranteed by USDA.

To be eligible under this pilot, borrowers must have made their mortgage payments on time for 12 consecutive months. They do not have to obtain new credit reports, property inspections or home appraisals. Refinanced loans must be at rates below the original interest rate. Terms cannot exceed 30 years. No cash out is permitted to the borrower.

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

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages more than 40 housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of 6,100 employees located in the nation's capital and nearly 500 state and local offices. 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. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of nearly $142 billion in loans and loan guarantees.


USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).