Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack kicked off National Homeownership Month by highlighting USDA’s ongoing role to help residents of America’s small towns and cities purchase homes in rural areas.
“Owning a home is one of the best ways American families enter the middle class,” Vilsack said. “USDA has helped provide homeownership for rural Americans for more than six decades. This year, we are marking the 50th anniversary of USDA’s Mutual Self-Help Housing program and are celebrating the 50,000th home built through it.”
The Mutual Self-Help program 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, this program helps people get affordable, clean and safe homes of their own.
Since 2009, USDA invested more than $117 billion to support rural homeownership. In 2014 alone, USDA invested more than $19.9 billion to help nearly 140,000 rural families buy and maintain homes.
Listed below are Rural Development programs that support rural homeownership:
- 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. The agency 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.
USDA Rural Development is moving investments to rural America with housing, business and infrastructure loans and grants to create jobs and strengthen rural economies with an emphasis to assist areas of persistent poverty. Since 2009, the agency has assisted more than 1.5 million Tennessee families and businesses in 230 communities in all 95 counties of Tennessee, investing more than $5.4 Billion through affordable loans, loan guarantees and grants.
For more information on USDA Rural Development programs available in Tennessee visit us online at www.rd.usda.gov/TN.