USDA Rural Development California today celebrated the first day of National Homeownership Month by highlighting USDA’s rich partnership with local housing authorities, nonprofits, individuals and families in California’s small towns and cities.
“A good home, and a good neighborhood, builds a strong community,” said Single Family Housing Program Director, Ron Tackett. “This year, we applaud the work of our housing partners nationwide on the 50th Anniversary and 50,000th home built through USDA’s Mutual Self-Help Housing program. In California, we look forward to helping the veterans, the low-income families, the seniors and all the other people we serve across our rural communities through the next 50 years and 50,000 homes.”
This year, USDA Rural Development California will celebrate National Homeownership Month with several longtime partners:
- On June 4th, Multi-Family Housing Deputy Administrator Bryan Hooper will attend the Grand Opening of the Coachella Valley Housing Coalition’s 205 self-help homes in the Los Jardines subdivision at Avenue 53 and Genoa Street in Coachella at 6:30 p.m.
- On June 7th, at 801 Newman Lane in Los Alamos, Single Family Housing Program Director Ron Tackett will join People’s Self-Help Housing for a tour of a five-home site between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
- On June 8th, Rural Housing Service Administrator Tony Hernandez will attend a celebration of the work of 20 families with Self-Help Enterprises at 412 Capistrano Street in Arvin at 11 a.m.
- Finally, on June 9th, Administrator Hernandez will join Community Housing Improvement Program for their Block Party commemorating National Homeownership Month and National NeighborWorks Week at 2nd Street and North Biggs Drive in Biggs between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.
The Mutual Self-Help program provides grants to help local 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. Typically, groups of six to ten families work at a minimum of 30 hours per week to build their own homes over the course of ten months.
For instance, in California, Self-Help Enterprises has partnered with USDA since 1965 to help more than 6,100 very-low- and low-income families build and own their own homes in the San Joaquin Valley. Though known as a top agricultural production region, the Valley also has one of the highest poverty rates in California.
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 access the American dream of homeownership. Since 2009, USDA invested more than $117 billion to support rural homeownership nationwide. In 2014 alone, USDA invested more than $19.9 billion to help nearly 140,000 rural families buy and maintain homes.
Listed below are other 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.
President Obama’s historic investments in rural America have made our rural communities stronger. Under his 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.