In his keynote address here today at the 9th Kansas Housing Conference, USDA Rural Housing Service Administrator Tony Hernandez highlighted the department’s investments in rural housing and education.
“Since the start of USDA’s single-family housing programs in 1949, the Department has helped nearly 3.4 million rural residents buy homes of their own,” Hernandez said. “Affordable home financing creates ladders of opportunities to help families grow and thrive. The millions of homeowners assisted through USDA programs generate tremendous benefits that ensure rural America remains a vital and prosperous place to live, work and raise a family today and in the future.”
In 2013 alone, USDA helped more than 2,100 rural Kansas residents become homeowners by investing more than $226 million in loans, grants and technical assistance that provided affordable, safe housing for rural Kansans. Measured by the number of people served and the dollars invested nationwide, 2013 was the most successful year for USDA’s single-family housing programs.
Throughout August, USDA has highlighted the resources and partnerships between agriculture and education. During his keynote address, Hernandez announced that two rural Kansas schools will benefit from USDA funding. USD#224 Clifton Clyde received a $23,870 grant and USD #333 Concordia received a $25,000 grant to update library equipment through USDA’s Community Facilities Program.
Following his keynote address, Hernandez toured Asbury Park. Asbury Park Inc., a not-for-profit, continuing care retirement community in Newton, Kan., used $16 million in USDA financing to recently complete construction of a 36,000-square-foot assisted-living facility.
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.