USDA Rural Development Celebrates National Homeownership Month

Contact: Emily Cannon
(207) 990-9175



Activities and Events in Maine and across the Nation to Spotlight Efforts to Help Rural Residents Realize the Dream of Homeownership

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today kicked off National Homeownership Month by highlighting USDA’s ongoing role to help people buy homes in rural areas.

“Owning a home helps promote stable communities and is one of the best ways American families can build wealth,” Vilsack said. “During the Obama Administration, USDA has helped more than one million rural families and individuals realize their dreams of homeownership. This year, our celebration of National Homeownership Month will recognize partnerships with some of the many organizations that have worked with us to make this achievement possible.”

USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel said, “Homeownership is an integral piece of the American Dream for Maine families, a foundation for financial security, and a place to raise the next generation. Homeowners benefit their communities and take tremendous pride in the place they live, work, and call home.”

In Maine to date in Fiscal Year 2016, USDA Rural Development has assisted 1,151 families or individuals in obtaining the dream of homeownership. Since FY 2009 USDA Rural Development has assisted a total of 16,572 homeowners or individuals obtain or maintain homeownership, resulting in $2,186,993,363 invested in homeownership in Maine’s rural communities. For more information on homeownership in Maine please visit www.rd.usda.gov/me or contact your local lender.

USDA builds strong relationships with lenders, home builders, realtors, community development organizations, non-profits and housing finance authorities to provide homeownership opportunities to very-low, low- and moderate-income individuals in rural areas.

USDA’s Guaranteed Loan program, for instance, increases access to mortgage financing in rural communities by offering approved lenders a 90 percent loan guarantee to offset their risk if a borrower defaults. By partnering with approved public and private lenders, more than one million low- to moderate-income families have bought and refinanced homes in rural America through this program during the Obama Administration. The program requires no down payment from the applicant, offers a fixed interest rate, and has a 30-year loan term.

The Department recently announced a series of changes that will make it faster and cheaper for rural homeowners with USDA-backed mortgages to refinance their loans and save money with a lower interest rate. The changes take effect June 2. Interested homeowners with USDA loan guarantees should contact their lender about refinance procedures. Homeowners with mortgages through USDA’s Direct Loan program should contact a USDA housing specialist.

In addition to mortgage financing, USDA provides grants and loans to help rural homeowners make improvements or repairs, such as removing health and safety hazards or making accessibility modifications for people with disabilities.

USDA has invested more than $137 billion since 2009 to support rural homeownership. In 2015 alone, the Department invested $19.5 billion to help more than 148,500 rural families buy or make repairs and safety upgrades to their homes. USDA created more homeownership opportunities through seven years of the Obama Administration than during any previous seven-year period in the single-family housing program’s history.

USDA employees will celebrate National Homeownership Month throughout June with events across the nation that demonstrate the commitment to provide access to affordable housing for low- and moderate-income rural residents. To learn more about USDA’s observance of National Homeownership Month, please visit our Facebook page or contact a Rural Development State Office near you.

USDA Rural Development (@usdaRD) has helped 1.1 million rural residents buy homes since 2009; funded nearly 7,000 community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care facilities; and invested $31.3 billion in 963 electric projects that have financed more than 185,000 miles of transmission and distribution lines serving 4.6 million rural residents. USDA also has invested $11 billion to start or expand 103,000 rural businesses; and helped bring high-speed Internet access to nearly 6 million rural residents and businesses. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/results.

USDA Rural Development has Area Offices located in Presque Isle, Bangor, Lewiston, and Scarborough, as well as a State Office, located in Bangor. There are 54 employees working to deliver the agency’s Housing, Business, and Community Programs, which are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, and farmers, and improve the quality of life in rural Maine. Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA Rural Development's web site at http://www.rd.usda.gov/me.

Last Modified: 06/03/2016