Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Opinion

June 13, 2014

USDA helps millions own their future

Owning your own home is part of the American dream. For 65 years, the U.S.Department of Agriculture Rural Development has helped 3.4 million rural families and individuals achieve the dream of homeownership through our affordable home loan programs.

Affordable home financing creates ladders of opportunity to help families grow and thrive. Every year, USDA Rural Development’s direct and guaranteed home loans help tens of thousands of rural residents become homeowners. Here in Indiana, since the start of the Obama administration, USDA Rural Development has made or guaranteed over 27,000 loans for more than $2.5 billion for rural Hoosier residents.

For example, after a divorce that damaged her credit score, Camilla Long was determined to work her way back and own her own home again. Camilla’s determination drove her to rebuild her credit and, with the help of USDA Rural Development, accomplish her dream.

We also have a home repair loan program, and grants for very-low-income seniors, to help homeowners protect and preserve their most precious asset.

In 2013 alone, Rural Development helped more than 170,000 rural residents become homeowners through direct loans, guaranteed loans, grants and technical assistance to provide them with affordable, safe homes. In both people and dollars, 2013 was the most successful year on record in the history of USDA’s single-family housing programs.

Homeownership is a conduit to neighborhood, family and community, and the positive impact of more than 3 million rural American homeowners across the U.S. is difficult to overstate. The benefits extend beyond the homeowners themselves. Homeownership creates economic opportunities for home builders, for providers of durable goods, such as lumber or appliances, and for Realtors. Local governments benefit from increased revenue through property taxes. Simply put, the millions of rural homebuyers assisted through USDA are strengthening the rural economy and helping small-town, rural America remain vital and vibrant.

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