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USDA Celebrates National Homeownership Month

Nikki Gillespie
Release Date

Acting Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Joel Baxley today 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.

   “Homeownership provides a strong foundation for hard-working people to build household wealth and climb the ladder of prosperity,” Baxley said. “By helping rural Americans achieve the dream of homeownership, USDA is supporting benefits that extend far beyond the home, resulting in stronger, more prosperous rural communities.”

   USDA Single Family Housing programs have served more than 4.4 million families in rural America since President Truman signed the Housing Act in 1949. Throughout June, USDA employees will celebrate National Homeownership Month with events across the Nation that demonstrate USDA’s commitment to provide access to affordable housing for rural Americans.

   Rural Development has several programs that support rural homeownership, including:

  • USDA partnerships with private-sector lenders to help rural families buy homes. Providing loan guarantees for lenders working with low- to moderate-income families is the key to opening up private-sector homeownership opportunities.

  • Direct home loans for very-low- and low-income applicants. Some borrowers qualify for program benefits that effectively reduce the interest rate on their monthly mortgage payments to one percent.

  • Repair loans and grants that help people improve access to their homes and remove health and safety hazards such as poor wiring or plumbing.

  • Mutual Self-Help Housing Technical Assistance grants are available to nonprofit organizations to help very-low- and low-income families build their own rural homes.

   In Nebraska, National Homeownership Month is being observed in several ways. For example, state and federal partners, community officials, lenders, realtors, major employers, home builders and other housing partners will convene for several public meetings across the state.  Individuals and families interested in owning a home in a rural community or existing rural homeowners in need of assistance with home repairs should plan to attend. Leadership from USDA Rural Development and several housing partners across the state will discuss programs that offer up to 100% financing for home purchase. Low interest rate loans starting at 1% are available for home repairs to existing very low-income homeowners. Grants for home repairs are available for elderly households of 62 years of age or older that are unable to repay a loan. 

   The current schedule of community meetings are as follows:

   More meetings will be released upon schedule confirmation.

   USDA Rural Development has close to $119 million available in Nebraska to assist with meeting the housing needs in rural communities. Expanding and preserving homeownership is an important foundation to the economy and provides stability in our rural communities. Available housing is important to supporting employers in the community, provides a place “where jobs sleep” and allow families to grow in communities where they work.   

   For example, Yaramis Ramos Hernandez was able to achieve safe, affordable homeownership through a partnership between USDA Rural Development, Pinnacle Bank and the North East Nebraska Economic Development District. Review the rest of Ms. Hernandez’s story to learn the full effects of how USDA Rural Development can assist individuals and families with homeownership.    

   In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America.

   To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).

   USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/ne.