BROWNSVILLE, TN., Jun 28, 2013 -- The changing seasons and the weather that comes with them can wreak havoc on a home. Rain and snow in fall and winter, humidity and heat in spring and summer push building materials to their edge and sometimes, over it. That was the case with Helen Cole’s home.
The home, originally built in 1993, has weathered storms and heat for the last 20 years and recently the front porch had become unfit to use. A friend of Cole mentioned USDA Rural Development (RD) had programs to help alleviate unsafe conditions, so Cole made the call. Through a partnership between RD and Tennessee Housing Development Authority (THDA), Cole’s porch was fixed and she was also able to improve other parts of her house that needed repairs.
"My house looks like it’s new," said Cole. "I don’t have to worry about the steps falling down when I come in or my roof leaking when it rains."
In addition to the porch, the RD grant of $7,500 and $7,250 in funds from THDA gave Cole enough to replace her roof, install new windows and replace some damaged siding. Her home is now more energy-efficient and has started to see the savings.
"Partnerships like this give families an opportunity to live in a safe home and ultimately build toward a great quality of life," said Jackson Area Director Arlisa Armstrong. "Fortunately through partnerships like this, we are able to help people continue living the dream of homeownership."
Rural Development (RD) home loans may be made without a down payment and eligible applicants may qualify for financing up to 100 percent of the appraised value. Depending on an applicant’s income, monthly payments may be based on an interest rate as low as one percent. Loans are typically made for 33 years at a fixed interest rate with a maximum loan amount of $133,200 in Haywood County.
Eligibility for federal home loan programs is based on family income and varies by county. For example, a four person household living in Haywood County with an adjusted income up to $37,350 may qualify for a low-interest home loan. Rural Development staff will help applicants calculate their adjusted household income and complete the application process.
Those who already own a home may be eligible for an RD home-repair loan to alleviate unsafe conditions, make repairs, or add needed space. The interest rate on these loans is fixed at one-percent and payments may be spread over as much as 20 years to keep the monthly payments affordable.
USDA Rural Development invests in jobs, infrastructure, community development, homeownership and affordable rental housing to improve the economic health of rural communities. During the last four years the agency has assisted more than 1.5 million Tennessee families and businesses in 158 communities, investing more than $3.3 Billion into local economies through affordable loans, loan guarantees and grants.
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 the across-the-board budget reductions mandated under terms of the Budget Control Act in a fair manner that causes as little disruption as possible.
For more information on USDA Rural Development programs available in West Tennessee contact the Rural Development Area Office in Jackson at 731-668-2091, toll free at (800) 342-3149 ext. 1495 or visit us online at www.rurdev.usda.gov/tn.
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).
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