News Release
Release No.STELPRD4021486
ContactGreg Batson(573) 876-9304
Bowling Green, MO, Jun 21, 2013 --

@@USDA Rural Housing Services (RHS) Administrator Tammye Treviño and Rural Development State Director Anita J. (Janie) Dunning today recognized two homeowners and lenders in celebration of June as Homeownership Month. Certificates were presented to homeowners Justin and Michelle Worthington and Stefanie Koester. In addition, Peoples Bank and Trust and Equitable Mortgage Corporation were recognized with certificates. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) remains focused on carrying out its mission, despite a time of significant budget uncertainty. Today’s presentations signify the Department’s recognition of the importance of homeownership in the life of rural communities.

"Homeownership is said to be the American dream. But, achieving the dream does not just benefit the homeowner; it benefits the community. Owning a home signifies accomplishment and a willingness to invest resources. Homeowners stabilize neighborhoods and entire communities through their purchase and by paying taxes which can be used to improve services and infrastructure which encourages economic development,” Dunning said. “An adequate housing stock is one of the cornerstones to assuring the growth and vitality of rural cities, towns and villages. Rural Development is committed to assuring home ownership opportunities are available for families and individuals, like Mr. and Mrs. Worthington and Ms. Koester, to achieve the dream. Without the participation of lenders, such as Peoples Bank and Trust and Equitable Mortgage Corporation, homeownership might not become a reality for many.”

Mr. and Mrs. Worthington refinanced their mortgage through Rural Development’s Guaranteed Housing Pilot Refinancing Program. They were able to reduce their interest rate which will save them money over the life of their loan. Ms. Koester used the Guaranteed Housing Loan Program to purchase her first home. She is an employee of Peoples Bank and Trust and understands the importance of investing in her community through home purchase.

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.

In many cases, USDA housing programs are the only opportunity for rural residents to buy a home – their piece of the American dream. 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, including Missouri and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico – areas that were hardest hit in the housing downturn. It has already enabled more than 5,500 homeowners to refinance $750 million in mortgages.

Anyone seeking more information about Rural Development Single or Multi-Family Housing Programs or any other USDA Rural Development program may visit the Missouri Rural Development homepage at or may contact the St. Joseph Area Office at (816) 364-3927, Ext. 4.

For other examples of USDA investments in rural communities, please visit Rural Development's interactive web map at The map features program funding and success stories for fiscal years 2009-2011.

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).