Baraboo, WI, Mar 18, 2013 -- USDA Rural Development State Director, Stan Gruszynski, announced today that Habitat for Humanity of the Sauk – Columbia Area (HFHSCA) has been selected to receive a USDA grant to help strengthen their capacity to provide affordable housing and spur regional economic development.
“This is a natural partnership. Rural Development has a legacy of dedication and investment in rural housing and Habitat for Humanity has a reputation for helping people build community and getting things done,” said Gruszynski. “As our economy continues to recover, this funding will enable Habitat for Humanity of the Sauk and Columbia Areas to expand its home construction program and increase their ability to assist locally, while improving quality of life brought about through home ownership.”
Gruszynski joined with leaders from HFHSCA to formally sign the funding agreement at their office in Baraboo, Wis., and officially award the grant on behalf of USDA Rural Development.
USDA remains focused on carrying out its mission, despite a time of significant budget uncertainty. Today's announcement is one part of the Department's efforts to strengthen the rural economy.
The $268,200 Self-Help Housing Grant will enable HFHSCA to build ten homes over the next two years.
The partnership not only involves HFHSCA and USDA Rural Development, but also brings in other resources such as participant labor, community volunteer services, and local businesses and churches providing support and resources to insure success.
“This is important, and a cause for celebration” Gruszynski said, “We are building both capacity and community. Federal resources are combined with non-profit, faith-based, and community efforts to improve the vitality, the economy, and sustainability of the region.”
"Using our own resources, HFHSCA was hard pressed to build two homes each year", said HFHSCA Executive Director Eleanor Chiquoine. "By partnering with the USDA/Rural Development program, we will be able to offer the opportunity of homeownership to an additional ten families over the next two years. This program is a good fit for us, too, because families must supply much of the labor to construct the homes - just like with the Habitat for Humanity program. At HFHSCA, we believe in the value of homeownership, and are very grateful for the chance to begin this endeavor!"
Since 2003, HFHSCA has constructed 15 homes. Habitat for Humanity homes are simple, decent, homes built without frills that cost between $60,000 and $105,000 to build. The average mortgage payment is between $500 – $775, including taxes and insurance. The construction program is designed to assist families and individuals that would not be able to own their own home in any other way.
USDA Rural Development's housing loans and grants make a significant difference in the lives of thousands of rural Americans across the nation. These investments boost rural economies and create jobs. During the past year, USDA Rural Development has assisted more than 9,800 Wisconsin residents through the various housing programs the Agency administers.
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, 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 $181 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.
USDA has made a concerted effort to deliver results for the American people, even as USDA implements sequestration – the across-the-board budget reductions mandated under terms of the Budget Control Act. USDA has already undertaken historic efforts since 2009 to save more than $700 million in taxpayer funds through targeted, common-sense budget reductions. These reductions have put USDA in a better position to carry out its mission, while implementing sequester budget reductions in a fair manner that causes as little disruption as possible.
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