Norfolk, Nebraska, Jun 19, 2013 -- USDA Rural Development Nebraska State Director Maxine Moul and staff celebrated National Homeownership Month today in Norfolk, Nebraska to recognize Timothy Miller for his achievement of homeownership. This year’s National Homeownership Month’s theme is “USDA: Bringing Rural America Home.”
Miller is excited about his new home. “I had one goal in my life and it consisted of getting myself a home,” Miller said. “I’m so happy that if I danced, I’d do an Irish jig,” he said.
“I congratulate Timothy on his new role as a homeowner,” said Moul. “He will surely enjoy the peace and quiet and space that his new home affords him. A home is not only an opportunity for an improved life style, but is also an investment for the individual and community.”
Miller, a veteran of the U.S. Army and 100 percent visually impaired, had been renting for 17 years. His most recent apartment shared two thin walls with noisy neighbors and a third wall with the laundry room. In addition, the living arrangements were cramped and less than ideal. Miller still had to rent a separate storage unit for some of his possessions. He dreamed of an opportunity to own a home of his own. The Norfolk Area Habitat for Humanity (NAHFH) and USDA Rural Development worked together to make this dream a reality.
USDA Rural Development was able to work directly with Miller to determine him eligible for the Direct Home Ownership program. NAHFH worked closely with Miller to ensure that the property would meet his needs. This was done by installing a special shower stall and a talking thermostat.
The roof and flooring was also replaced, the interior painted and new window shades added. One of the bedrooms was converted to a workshop so that Miller could work on his crafts and hobbies. The Norfolk Area Chamber of Commerce also participated in the rehabilitation of the property by having local businesses such as Our Savior Lutheran Church and Northeast Community College donate time, talent, and energy to the property.
The partnership between USDA Rural Development and NAHFH generated benefits beyond that of just homeownership. This process helped generate local business and employment, helped inspire others in the area to make their dreams come true, and helped keep a property from becoming dilapidated.
USDA RD provided 100 percent financing through the Rural Housing Direct loan program to help put Miller into a newly rehabilitated home for less than $60,000.00. NAHFH also subsidized a portion of the purchase to help him keep his mortgage comparable to what he was previously paying for rent. As part of the partnership with NAHFH, Whirlpool donated appliances for the home. Without the partnership between USDA RD, NAHFH, and the Norfolk Area Chamber of Commerce, Miller may never have been able to make his dream a reality.
USDA Rural Development has been successful in helping rural Nebraska residents to live the American dream of homeownership. USDA plays a major role in helping to provide homeownership and home repair assistance to citizens living in rural communities. Since 1979, Rural Development in Nebraska has assisted more than 22,300 families in becoming homeowners and has provided more than $1.27 billion of home loans in the state.
During the last two fiscal years, USDA housing programs have provided more than $13 million in Madison County for home purchases to assist 146 families to become home owners. For Fiscal Year 2013, USDA Rural Development in Nebraska has nearly $146 million available for financing home loan purchases in rural communities for the state.
USDA Rural Development has two loan programs that provide affordable homeownership opportunities to rural Americans: the Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan program, and the Single Family Housing Direct Loan program. Both these programs allow for 100 percent financing and affordable rates and terms. Eligibility is based on income, acceptable credit and repayment ability and the property must be located in rural areas with populations not exceeding 20,000. However, Norfolk and Columbus are also currently eligible until September 30, 2013.
USDA uses sound underwriting criteria to ensure borrowers are able to repay their loans. By doing so USDA Rural Development is helping to keep people in their homes. You can visit the Agency eligibility website at http://eligibility.sc.egov.usda.gov to determine if you are within the established income limit based on the size of household and county and if the property is located within an eligible area.
Housing not only provides a safe home for families, but also generates economic activity through construction jobs and results in direct real estate industry impacts relating to Realtors, banks, title companies, insurance, home furnishing sales, etc. Housing supports communities through an increased tax base and provides an available workforce. Available housing is important in bringing businesses to a community and provides a place “where jobs sleep” and allows families to live in communities where they work, and reduce energy costs.
Households interested in homeownership opportunities may contact their local USDA Rural Development office which can be located at: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/ne/Contact_Us.htm. Visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/ne for additional program information.
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).