More than $114 million was delivered in federal fiscal year 2014 by USDA Rural Development to achieve homeownership, complete home repairs and to provide rental assistance to rural Nebraska families. USDA Rural Development oversees an $814.7 million housing portfolio in Nebraska of affordable rental properties and single family home loans that have maintained low delinquency rates. There is funding available for Fiscal Year 2015 and applications are being accepted.
“Rural Development is proud to report that more than $114 million was invested in housing this fiscal year. Growing our rural areas is important and with that brings the need for housing. That is why Rural Development’s homeownership and rural rental housing programs are so vital. It is also essential to have programs in place for health and safety repairs,” said Nebraska State Director Maxine Moul, USDA Rural Development. “We look forward to Fiscal Year 2015 and helping to continue to meet the needs of rural residents.”
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 of these programs allow for 100 percent financing at affordable rates and terms. The Guaranteed loan program provides homeownership loans through approved lenders. The interest rate is negotiated between the lender and applicant and is currently below 4.50%. For the Direct loan program, loans are made directly through USDA Rural Development offices and the current interest rate is 3.375% and may be reduced to 1% for qualifying households. Additional information on both of these programs is available at the Agency website at www.rurdev.usda.gov/ne and click on the Single Family Housing link.
In Fiscal Year 2014 homeownership was brought to 1,111 rural Nebraska families totaling more nearly $107 million. Since 1979, USDA Rural Development has invested nearly $1.4 billion in rural Nebraska for homeownership opportunities and repairs.
Eligibility for both housing programs is based on income, acceptable credit and repayment ability and the property must be located in rural areas. All communities in Nebraska are eligible for housing programs with the exceptions of Fremont, Grand Island, Hastings, Kearney, Lincoln, North Platte, Omaha and South Sioux City/Dakota City. See http://eligibility.sc.egov.usda.gov/eligibility/welcomeAction.do for eligible areas 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. 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.
USDA Rural Development reached a milestone on March 24, 2014 by guaranteeing more than one billion dollars in home loans to rural families in Nebraska since 1992. USDA has made an unprecedented commitment to Nebraska in providing affordable rural housing for decades and continues this dedication. The $1 billion milestone loan was for a home purchased by Isaias Lorenzo Izara and his family from Axtell, NE. The loan was originated through Farmers & Merchants Bank of Kearney and USDA provided a guarantee on the loan.
The Rural Home Repair Loan and Grant program provided $136,486 in assistance to 21 rural Nebraska homeowners for essential repairs. Charles W. is an 85 year old living on a fixed income. His bathroom needed repair. The floor was rotten under the tub and the toilet and needed to be replaced. In addition, the old cast iron tub had high sides. He had taken a hose with a hand held nozzle and fastened it to a shower ring on the ceiling to make a shower. He had recently fallen while getting out of the tub. Since the tub needed to be removed to repair the floor underneath, it was the perfect time to put a more accessible tub/shower back in its place. Using Rural Home Repair Grant funds in the amount of $4,885, the old tub and toilet were removed and the floor repaired. The toilet was then moved to the other side of the room to make way for a new low sided tub/shower with grab bars.
The Multi-Family Rural Rental Housing Loan (MFH) program provides financing to develop rental housing in rural areas for persons with very-low, low and moderate incomes. Funds may also be used to construct a new facility or to rehabilitate Rural Development financed apartments or convert existing buildings into apartments. Nebraska has 204 rental complexes financed through Rural Development that provide over 3,200 affordable rental units.
Subsidies are available to lower a tenant's monthly contribution in order to make rent more affordable. In the 2014 fiscal year, more than $7.1 million of rental assistance and vouchers were provided to 1,981 tenants residing in Rural Development multi-family rural rental housing complexes in Nebraska. To locate a rural rental housing complex nearest you visit: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/NEHousingPrograms_MFH_Apts_For_Rent.htm
For more information contact the Rural Development office nearest you. You can locate an office by visiting: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/NE-ContactUs.html. Visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/ne for information on all of Rural Development’s programs. For additional information on RD projects, please visit Rural Development’s new interactive web map featuring program funding and success stories for fiscal years 2009-2013. The data can be found at: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/RDSuccessStories.html.
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.