USDA Acting Deputy Under Secretary Joins U.S. Senator Chris Coons to Celebrate National Homeownership Month and Announce Funding for Economic Development Projects

Kathy Beisner
Release Date
Jun 08, 2015

BRIDGEVILLE, Del., June 8, 2015 – USDA Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Vernita F. Dore joined United States Senator Chris Coons today to participate in a National Homeownership Month celebration that included helping local families build their own homes under the Mutual Self-Help Program and to announce economic assistance to several businesses and organizations.

   “USDA is proud to partner with community leaders, the Milford Housing Development Corporation (MHDC), and volunteers to help residents in our Nation’s small towns and communities achieve the dream of homeownership,” Dore said. “Owning a home can help propel families into the middle class.  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.”

   This year USDA is marking the 50th anniversary of its Mutual Self-Help Housing program by celebrating the 50,000th home built through the program. It provides grants to help organizations carry out housing construction projects in rural areas. These organizations supervise groups of very-low- and low-income individuals and families as they construct their own homes. The group members provide most of the construction labor on each other's homes and get technical assistance from the organization overseeing the project.  By working with trusted local organizations like MHDC this program helps people get affordable, clean and safe homes of their own.

   In Delaware, the program has helped 170 families use their own “sweat equity” to help build a home and thereby reduce construction and labor costs.  Today, Acting Deputy Under Secretary Dore, U.S. Senator Coons and staff from USDA’s national office and the Delaware-Maryland State Rural Development office were joined by congressional staff representing multiple States in support of self-help housing and National Homeownership Month.

Homeownership provides a strong foundation to help build household wealth, start a business or fund education through home equity. Since the creation of USDA's single-family housing programs in 1949, USDA has helped more than 3 million rural residents achieve the American dream of homeownership. Throughout June, USDA employees will celebrate National Homeownership Month with events like the home build here in Bridgeville. These events demonstrate USDA's commitment to provide access to affordable housing for low-and moderate-income rural residents.

  Dore and members of Delaware’s Congressional Delegation also announced a $300,000 grant to the Town of Smyrna.  USDA Rural Development funds will be used to establish a revolving loan program.  The initial loan will be used to construct and renovate the building that will be occupied and opening soon as the “Inn at Duck Creek.”  More specifically the buildings upper floors will be transformed and available for public use purposes to include education and training to facilitate economic development projects, general meeting space and for special events.

   “These ongoing investments increase economic opportunities for rural entrepreneurs that enable them to create jobs for local residents,” said Rural Development State Director Bill McGowan.

   Under the Rural Economic Development Grant program, USDA provides grant funds to local organizations which use the funding to establish revolving loan funds.  Loans are made from the revolving loan funds to projects that will create or retain rural jobs.

   To learn more about USDA Rural Development programs and its observance of National Homeownership Month, please visit or contact the Delaware-Maryland Rural Development State Office. Here is a link: