To mark National Homeownership Month Friday, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials, representatives from Tri-County Community Action, local business representatives and others spent the day helping two senior citizens from Berlin make improvements to their family home.
The homeowners, Leon and Priscille Boucher, have lived in their Berlin home for more than 47 years. A recent $7,500 home repair grant from USDA Rural Development helped the Bouchers replace their roof, enabling the family to begin focusing on other deferred maintenance, including painting, insulation work, wiring, and yard work. USDA staff and representatives from Tri-County Community Action helped identify state, federal and private assistance that could help the Bouchers safely and affordably remain in their home for years to come.
"New Hampshire’s seniors need safe, affordable places to call home – and the most affordable and logical place is often the home they have owned for years," said USDA Rural Development New Hampshire and Vermont State Director Ted Brady. "Modest investments from USDA and our partners can help working class New Hampshire seniors and families build equity by helping them buy, repair and enjoy their homes."
More than 20 volunteers spent Friday working with the Boucher family, including staff from New Hampshire’s Congressional delegation, local and state office holders, and local contractors. The day of service capped off weeks of work on the home completed with more than $17,000 of grants and donations. Donations were made from local contractor Jim Lavertue, Caron Building Center, Rockingham Electric, Sherwin Williams, and the City of Berlin. Tri-County Community Action, the New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning, and Public Service of New Hampshire provided grant funding for various energy efficiency projects.
Last year, USDA Rural Development helped 1,220 families in New Hampshire purchase or repair their homes using USDA loans and grants.
President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s 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. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values.
USDA, through its RD mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $197 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural areas. For more information on Rural Development visit the Vermont/New Hampshire Rural Development Website (www.rurdev.usda.gov/nh-vtHome.html) or contact USDA RD at (802) 828-6000.