Portland, Ore., Jun 13, 2013 -- USDA Rural Development’s Chief of Staff for the Rural Housing Service, Dom McCoy, marked National Homeownership Month by highlighting programs to help rural residents buy, refinance and repair homes in rural Oregon. During a visit to the state this week, McCoy met with partners, staff and program participants to promote USDA’s homeownership assistance.
"Homeownership should be an achievable dream and in many cases, USDA housing programs provide the only way for rural residents to buy a home," said McCoy. "Working with our partners in the lending community and with state and local housing authorities, we are continuing to make safe, affordable housing available to creditworthy applicants across the nation," he continued.
USDA has helped rural residents purchase homes since 1949. Since the start of the Obama Administration, USDA Direct and Guaranteed home loan programs administered by USDA Rural Development have helped more than 650,000 rural residents buy houses. According to Oregon’s USDA Rural Development State Director, Vicki Walker, 10,500 of those families purchased homes in rural Oregon.
“While most Americans are familiar with the historic mission of USDA, many may not know that USDA plays a major role in helping to provide homeownership and home repair assistance to millions of citizens living in rural areas,” Walker said.
In addition to providing direct home loans, USDA also guarantees loans made by banks and credit unions.
President Obama also said in his May 11 weekly radio address that more than 2 million families have lowered their mortgage costs by an average of $3,000 a year through government-supported refinance efforts. Since the beginning of federal fiscal year 2012, USDA Rural Development has refinanced 740 USDA home loans in Oregon.
USDA is providing additional support for rural housing through a pilot program enabling USDA borrowers to refinance their home loans at today's low interest rates. Introduced in 2012 and expanded this year, the pilot is being tested in 34 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico – areas that were hardest hit in the housing downturn. It has already enabled more than 5,500 USDA-backed homeowners to refinance $750 million in mortgages. Oregon homeowners who currently have a USDA loan or loan guarantee and want to learn more about possible refinancing options should call 866-923-5626.
USDA, its state and federal partners, members of the housing community, lenders and communities across the country celebrate National Homeownership Month each June to bring attention to the role housing plays in the economy. This year's theme, "USDA: Bringing Rural America Home," underscores housing's importance to millions of rural residents.
McCoy and other USDA officials are marking homeownership month with a series of events and activities across the country, including visits to central Oregon. McCoy will visit USDA-financed homes and highlight ways in which USDA housing programs complement the Department's programs and initiatives to help create jobs and stimulate rural economic activity.
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 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 a portfolio of programs 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 $828 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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