U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Success Stories

A Family, A Home, And An Education: How Laura Got it Done

Cecilia Lynch
Homeownership Month 2023
Rural Development
A kitchen with counters, cupboards and a stove

Right on the banks of the Mississippi River, Camanche, Iowa, boasts of a long history of small town life. With the big river so close, scenic views are everywhere. With larger cities nearby, education and employment opportunities are within reach.

“Camanche is a grassroots community,” said Laura McCaughey. “It matches my goals and takes me into a rural space.”

Laura, a single parent and first-time homebuyer, dreamed of finding a place of her own to live, not too far from extended family and within a reasonable commuting distance of her workplaces.

“I’ve been going to school for almost seven years. My daughter is eight years old. It was time to take the next step. My daughter is the most important thing to me, and having a home for her is most important, too,” Laura said. “I graduate from grad school next May, in clinical psychology.”

“I love what I do, working with at-risk populations,” she said.

As an adolescent, Laura went through some tough times and was headed in the wrong direction for a while. “I live my life as an open book now. I want to give back to people. I put my experiences out there and hope that it helps someone out there to hear about them.”

Laura helps lead a relapse prevention group at a county-level detention center. “I also work as a supervising counselor with the National Suicide and Crisis Prevention Hotline,” she said. The hotline provides free and confidential support for people in distress and resources for their loved ones.

How does she manage two jobs, one growing child, graduate school, commuting, and household responsibilities? “I practice time management,” Laura laughs. “And spiritual development. I match where I am in life with where I want to go.”

She was glad to learn about USDA home loans and successfully secured financing through the Single Family Housing Direct Home Loan program. “Toni at USDA Rural Development was fantastic to work with. My own realtor was fantastic, too.” Laura shared some advice. “Don’t be afraid to go for what you want as a homebuyer. I got what I wanted!”

For Laura, her new place in Comanche is just the right fit.

“We love living in our home. We are fortunate to have found it. Our home is like a blank slate—we can write on it anyway we choose.”

The National Suicide and Crisis Prevention Lifeline’s toll-free number, 988, connects the caller to a certified crisis center near where the call is placed.

Obligation Amount:
Year(s) of Obligation:
Congressional District:
  • Iowa: District 3