USDA is celebrating National Homeownership Month by shining a spotlight on Rural Development’s ongoing role in helping residents of America’s small towns and cities purchase homes in rural areas.
“The old adage, ‘Home is where the heart is,’ means your true home is with the person or in the place that you long to be,” said Colleen Callahan, Illinois Rural Development Director. “That’s one reason home ownership is called the American Dream. Beyond that, home ownership provides a strong foundation to help build household wealth, start a business or fund education through home equity. Those are impacts that benefit the family, their community and our entire society.”
Since the creation of USDA’s single-family housing programs in 1949, USDA has helped nearly 3.9 million rural residents achieve the American dream of homeownership - nearly 900,000 of those in the last years. In 2014 alone, USDA invested more than $19.9 billion to help nearly 140,000 rural families buy and maintain homes.
“We’re always conscious that behind every number are real people, real families and real stories of challenge and success,” said Barry Ramsey, Illinois Housing Program Director. “I love what I do each day, and that’s helping people finance a good place to call home.”
In Illinois during fiscal year 2014, assistance from Rural Development helped:
- more than 4,150 families who were able to purchase a home or refinance into a more affordable loan
- 420 very low income homeowners who were assisted with repair loans and grants
- 7,015 very low income households who were assisted with rent support (61% were elderly or disabled)
Following are Rural Development programs that support rural homeownership. You can find more information on each one at www.rd.usda.gov/il.
- Direct home loans for low- and very-low-income applicants. Payment assistance is provided that can lower the loan interest rate to as low as one percent.
- Loan guarantees for moderate-income families. Rural Development works with private-sector lenders to back the lenders’ loans.
- Home repair loans and grants to help rural homeowners make improvements or repairs. Examples include making homes accessible for people with disabilities or removing health and safety hazards such as poor wiring or plumbing.
For more information on these and other programs, you can also contact the Illinois Rural Development State Office at 217.403.6202 or the Illinois field office nearest you: Bourbonnais – 815.937.8940 x113; Oregon – 815.732.6127 x4; Ottawa – 815.433.0551 x4; Princeton – 815.875.8732 x4; Pontiac – 815.844.6127 x4; Champaign – 217.352.3536 x4; Effingham – 217.347.7107 x4; Mt. Vernon – 618.244.0773 x4; Marion – 618.993.5396 x4; Jacksonville – 217.243.1535 x4; Quincy – 217.224.9307 x4; Galesburg – 309.342.5138 x4.
President Obama’s historic investments in rural America have made our rural communities stronger. Under his 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.