News Release
Release No.STELPRD4022391
ContactDavid Glasgow615-783-1300
MARYVILLE, Tenn., Nov 20, 2013 --

@@USDA Rural Development Housing Specialist Marisol Torres today joined Blount County Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Tony Gibbons to announce a USDA grant to help fund home repairs that will make it possible for income eligible people to stay in their homes. The announcement was made at the Habitat Office in Maryville.

Gibbons said, "Today's grant signing marks a major expansion in our service capacity and commits our organization to meeting the needs of more low-income homeowners in rural areas of Blount County."

The USDA investment of $40,000 with $53,100 from Habitat and partners Dow Chemical Company, Alcoa Aluminum and United Way of Blount County completes the funding needed to assist at least 20 very low income and four low income homeowners in rural parts of Blount County. The program is targeted to the elderly and disabled who need modifications to their residence in order to continue living in the home. Anticipated projects include improvements like ramps, doorway expansion and safety handrail installation.

The mission of Blount County Habitat for Humanity (BCHH) is to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness by providing simple, decent, affordable and stable housing for those in need in Blount County. BCHH partners with numerous private, public and non-profit organizations to improve the lives of families and individuals in Blount County.

Torres said, "The housing sector is important to families and contributes a lot to the local economy. Working with 150 private lenders and non-profit partners like Habitat USDA helps more than 50,000 rural Tennesseans with their place to call home."

USDA also offers affordable home-repair loans to help other homeowners 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, health, education, 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 $3.7 Billion into local economies through affordable loans, loan guarantees and grants.

For more information on Rural Development programs available in EastTennessee contact the Rural Development Area Office in Knoxville at 865-523-3338 x4, toll free (800) 342-3149 ext. 1491, or find more details at


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).