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News Release
Release No. STELPRD4021062
ContactTammi Schone605-352-1102
Printable Version  Printable Version

Sisseton, SD, Jun 11, 2013 -- “As we mark Homeownership Month, USDA is focused on bringing America home – whether to a new house that provides a safe place to raise a family, or to a stronger and more vibrant community in the years ahead,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. In sync with the secretary’s message, is soon to be new homeowner Robin Weinkuaf and her two daughters.

The Weinkuaf family is presently living in a rented house. Robin wanted a better quality of life for her family, a nicer home to live in, and a house payment that was affordable. Through a partnership between USDA Rural Development, Grow SD, and HAPI, the Weinkauf family completed the application process and successfully qualified for and received a loan through USDA Rural Development’s direct loan program.

“Homeownership is an integral part of rural communities. It provides stability, self-worth, and comfort to individuals who are pursuing the American dream of homeownership,” said Rural Development State Director Elsie M. Meeks. “The Weinkuaf family exemplifies the commitment the Obama Administration has made to bring resources to rural America to provide decent, affordable housing to those who need it.”

Rural Development provided a 502 direct loan of $43,000 that was leveraged with a silent mortgage in the amount of $3,500 form Homes Are Possible, Inc. (HAPI) and a silent mortgage in the amount of $1,000 from Grow SD. The Agency’s direct loan program allows borrowers to purchase an existing home, finance new construction or repair an existing home. Eligibility is based on household income, which must not exceed 80% of the median income for the area, repayment ability, and credit history. Payments can be based on an interest rate as low as one-percent. Grow SD, one of five partners nationwide to assist in packaging 502 Direct loans on behalf of USDA Rural Development, assisted the Weinkauf family with the purchase process. To date, Grow SD has assisted with closing 20 packaged loans in South Dakota.

“Me and my family can’t wait to move in. My kids and I love the home. It is nice and big enough for my youngest daughter to do six somersaults across the living room floor,” said new homeowner Robin Weinkuaf.

In South Dakota, Rural Development programs helped 1,409 families to obtain homes or preserve homeownership through making essential repairs that helped them to remain in their homes last year. This fiscal year, the agency is poised to help more families than ever before, with 976 families already assisted to date. South Dakota USDA Rural Development Offices are located in Aberdeen, Mitchell, Pierre, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Watertown, and Yankton. Please contact our state office at 605-352-1132 for additional information.

Earlier this month, USDA Housing and Community Facilities Administrator Tammye Treviño officially kicked off homeownership month in South Dakota on Monday, June 3, 2013 with a series of events and activities in Sisseton. Trevino presented the Weinkauf family with a certificate for being a new homeowner and for participating in the agency’s homeownership event, Bringing Rural America Home.

In many cases, USDA housing programs are the only opportunity for rural residents to buy a home – their piece of the American dream. That dream remains the cornerstone for millions of U.S. families. President Obama 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 his refinance program (

USDA, its federal partners, members of the housing community and citizens across the country celebrate National Homeownership Month each year to bring attention to the role housing plays in the U.S. economy. This year’s theme, “USDA: Bringing Rural America Home,” underscores housing’s importance to halting the out-migration of rural residents.

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.

Last Modified:07/24/2014 
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