March 5, 2004 – Nashville, TN – USDA-Rural Development and Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA) have agreed to partner in providing loans and grants to improve the housing conditions of very low income rural families. This partnership will make available approximately $2 million statewide for individuals to make improvements or remove health and safety hazards. The funds may also be used to remodel homes to make them accessible for persons with disabilities.


A ceremony was held to celebrate the partnership with Mary Ruth Tackett, State Director, Rural Development and Janice Myrick, Executive Director, THDA signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the organizations to officially kick-off the program at the Rural Development State Office.


“We are very excited to expand our partnership with THDA in assisting low income families to improve the quality of life for rural residents in Tennessee,” said Ms. Tackett, “The signing of this MOU is a great example of federal and state organizations working together to better utilize the limited resources available and to emphasize Rural Development’s commitment to the future of rural communities.


Also, participating in the ceremony was: Patrick Jaynes, State Director for Senator Lamar Alexander; Nathan James, Field Representative for Congressman Marsha W. Blackburn; Don Harris, Deputy Executive Director, THDA and Ben Lasater, Housing Director, Rural Development.


“The partnership will give us an opportunity to benefit many people in a way that THDA would not be able to accomplish without this partnership with Rural Development,” said Ms. Myrick.


According to Ms. Tackett and Ms. Myrick, eligible rural residents could make needed repairs to existing homes to ensure that families are living in decent, safe and sanitary housing. This program may provide loans and /or grants to eligible families that live in rural areas with population less than 25,000. The eligible family’s loan amount can not exceed $20,000 and the grant amount can not exceed $11,250. The amount of loan and /or grant will be determined by the needs of the family and their repayment ability.


This program will be administered from the Rural Development offices located throughout Tennessee. All interested persons should contact the Rural Development office that serves their area. Persons can call 615-783-1375 to receive additional information concerning the program or to identify the Rural Development office that serves their area. Also, persons can visit the web site at to identify the offices and learn more about programs that are available to rural communities. Person can also contact THDA at 615-741-2400 or visit their web site at to learn more about housing programs available in Tennessee.