Redmond, Ore., Jun 19, 2013 -- In honor of National Homeownership Month, national officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) last week presented Housing Works, the housing authority for Central Oregon, two awards for providing quality, affordable housing that strengthens communities in Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson Counties. Specifically, the agencies commended Housing Works for their work to help rural residents achieve homeownership through HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher program and USDA’s home loan programs.
USDA Rural Development’s, Chief of Staff for the Rural Housing Service Dom McCoy and HUD’s Community Planning and Development Director for Oregon Doug Carlson traveled to Housing Work’s Redmond office to make the presentation to Housing Works and area homeowners participating in its programs.
“USDA’s programs – our direct and guaranteed loans – help make the dream of homeownership possible for thousands of rural families and individuals each year, and we rely on partners like Housing Works to help local families access these federal programs,” said McCoy. “When families can find a good place to live in rural America, they’ll stay there, invest in the community and help create new economic growth.”
“Some 150 families across Oregon – including almost 20 in central Oregon – are making use of HUD Homeownership Vouchers to own their piece of the American Dream,” said HUD Northwest Regional Administrator Mary McBride. “We particularly appreciate to USDA’s great mortgage products and the very good work of housing authorities like Housing Works who help those families make their dreams come true. And may many more Oregon families enjoy the same opportunity.”
“We open the door to affordable housing opportunities for those who have been locked out, and USDA and HUD are significant partners in that work,” said Tom Kemper, Housing Works executive director, who accepted the award for providing outstanding housing options in Central Oregon communities.
Housing Works obtains public funding from federal, state and local governments and leverages these funds with private capital from local financial institutions and foundations to provide quality housing that meets communities’ needs.
Kelly Fisher, Housing Works client services manager, received an award for her work in administering HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher program. USDA loans and the voucher program help moderate and low-income families transition from renter to homeowner status by utilizing a portion of their monthly vouchers toward their mortgage payments.
“We have worked with 19 families who have used the voucher program over the past several years, and 12 of those utilized USDA loans,” said Fisher. “While that number may not seem like a lot, we have seen how the addition of just one qualified, contributing family to a neighborhood can improve the quality of life for the whole community,” she said.
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.
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), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users)..