Home Repair Program Helps Widow Keep Her Home in Western Pacific

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Donald Etes
(808) 933-8305
Image of Emiko Santos outside her home in Kolonia Town, Pohnpei, FSM.

Mrs. Emiko Santos, a 72–year old widow who lives in Kolonia Town, was facing a serious decision to abandon her family home when she contacted Rural Development's Western Pacific office. She lived alone in a house she could no longer adequately access due to medical limitations, and it had dilapidated extensively.

She had already fallen down once trying to enter her house, which resulted in a major hip injury requiring off-island surgery. The home had no kitchen or bathroom facilities and her roof was rusted with several panels missing entirely. She was trapped and facing the prospect of moving into a crowded room in a small house with her relatives in a remote location.

Through the Single Family Housing Home Repair Loan and Grant program, Mrs. Santos was awarded $14,950 to update her home with a new roof, doors and windows. This dramatically improved her quality of life and gave her a safe and secure home that she can easily access and is proud of.            

“My kitchen is beautiful. My bathroom is beautiful. And I never dreamed I would have my own ramp with railings,” Santos said. “Thank you so very, very much! I am so very glad for Rural Development!”

Mrs. Santos’ plight represents many of the seniors living in the rural island communities of the Federated States of Micronesia, where median household income consistently averages approximately 25 percent of the state poverty level guideline. Moreover, their meager incomes are insufficient to qualify for financing from local commercial banks at less than 18-22 percent interest rates to repair their existing homes.

USDA’s Rural Housing Service offers a variety of programs to build or improve housing and essential community facilities in rural areas. USDA’s Single Family Housing Programs provide direct loans or loan guarantees to help low- and moderate-income rural Americans buy safe, affordable housing in rural areas. USDA also offers loans and grants to help rural residents make health and safety repairs to homes.


Fast Facts

Obligation Amount$14,950
Date of ObligationJune 2017
Congressional DistrictN/A
Senator's Last NamesN/A