Lincoln, Nebraska, Nov 02, 2012 -- Nearly $130.1 million was delivered in federal fiscal year 2012 by USDA Rural Development to achieve homeownership, complete home repairs and to provide rental assistance to rural Nebraska families. This is a record year for USDA Rural Development housing programs in Nebraska, according to State Director Maxine Moul. USDA Rural Development oversees a $760.2 million housing portfolio in Nebraska of affordable rental properties and single family home loans that have maintained low delinquency rates. There is funding available for Fiscal Year 2013 and applications are being accepted.
“Rural Development is proud to report that nearly $130.1 million was invested in housing. Growing our rural areas is important and with that brings the need for housing. That is why Rural Development’s homeownership and rural rental housing programs are so important. It is also vital to have those programs in place for health and safety repairs,” said Moul. “We look forward to Fiscal Year 2013 and helping to continue to meet the needs of rural residents.”
USDA Rural Development has two loan programs that provide affordable homeownership opportunities to rural Americans: the Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan program, and the Single Family Housing Direct Loan program. Both these programs allow for 100 percent financing and affordable rates and terms. Current interest rates are below 3.5 percent and in some instances, rates can be reduced to 1 percent for qualifying households for the Direct program. Homeownership was brought to 1,311 households in the 2012 fiscal year through more than $123.4 million. Since 1979, USDA Rural Development has invested more than $1.2 billion in rural Nebraska for homeownership opportunities and repairs.
Eligibility for both housing programs is based on income, acceptable credit and repayment ability and the property must be located in rural areas with populations not exceeding 20,000. The communities of Norfolk and Columbus also remain eligible through at least March 27, 2013, when the 2010 census data will be implemented. USDA uses sound underwriting criteria to ensure borrowers are able to repay their loans. By doing so, USDA Rural Development is helping to keep people in their homes. You can visit the Agency eligibility website at http://eligibility.sc.egov.usda.gov to determine if you are within the established income limit based on the size of household and county and if the property is located within an eligible area.
USDA Rural Development also works with other housing partners that may provide down payment assistance or funds for closing costs to make homeownership more affordable. Homeownership came to Marcel Picotte Sr. and his family of five in Winnebago through six partners: USDA Rural Development, Ho-Chunk Community Development Corporation (HC CDC), the Winnebago Tribe, HCI Construction, the Winnebago Housing and Development Commission (WHDC) and the Rural Housing and Economic Development (RHED) program.
Today, the Picottes live in a three bedroom, 1,568 square foot newly built ranch home.
The Rural Home Repair Loan and Grant program provided $229,000 in assistance to 49 rural Nebraska homeowners for essential repairs. Judith Snider of Fairbury, Nebraska was in desperate need of a fully functioning bathroom for her home but was not able to afford the repairs on her own. USDA Rural Development provided Judith with the dollars needed for a new shower, vanity, and flooring. Plumbing and electrical repairs were also completed. Having a functional bathroom allows the single mother of three children to be able to fully utilize and access the bathroom.
The Housing Preservation Grant (HPG) program provided the Northeast Nebraska Community Action Partnership, Inc. of Pender, Nebraska with a $25,000 grant to assist in repairing homes, most commonly the roof and/or foundation in order for a home to qualify for weatherization services. In another effort, the Community Action Partnership of Western Nebraska in Gering, Nebraska was granted $25,000 for health and safety related improvements to very-low and low income family homes.
The Multi-Family Rural Rental Housing Loan (MFH) program provides financing to develop rental housing in rural areas for persons with very-low, low and moderate incomes. Funds may also be used to construct a new facility or to rehabilitate Rural Development financed apartments or convert existing buildings into apartments. Nebraska has 226 rental complexes financed through Rural Development that provide over 3,500 affordable rental units. Subsidies are available to lower a tenant's monthly contribution in order to make rent more affordable. In the 2012 fiscal year, more than $6 million of rental assistance and vouchers were provided to 1,655 tenants residing in Rural Development multi-family rural rental housing complexes in Nebraska. To locate a rural rental housing complex nearest you visit: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/SupportDocuments/NE%20Community%20MFH%20Projects.pdf
The Multi-Family Housing Preservation and Revitalization (MPR) program provides grants to revitalize Multi-Family Housing projects in order to extend the affordable use of these projects without displacing tenants due to increased rents. Villa Townhouse in Paxton, Nebraska received $348,553 to revitalize its housing facility.
For more information contact the Rural Development office nearest you. You can locate an office by visiting: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/NE-ContactUs.html. Visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/ne.
For additional information on RD projects, please visit Rural Development’s new interactive web map featuring program funding and success stories for fiscal years 2009-2011. The data can be found at: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/RDSuccessStories.html.
President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of Federal resources 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, has an active portfolio of more than $172 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 America.