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Article: US Department of Agriculture Rural Development
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Rural Development Housing & Community Facilities Programs
The Housing and Community Facilities Programs provides a number of homeownership opportunities to rural Americans, as well as programs for home renovation and repair. HCFP also makes financing available to elderly, disabled, or low-income rural residents of multi-unit housing buildings to ensure they are able to make rent payments.
Direct Loan Program
Under the Direct Loan program, individuals or families receive direct financial assistance directly from the Housing and Community Facilities Programs in the form of a home loan at an affordable interest rate.
Most of the loans made under the Direct Loan Program are to families with income below 80% of the median income level in the communities where they live. Since HCFP is able to make loans to those who will not qualify for a conventional loan, the HCFP Direct Loan program enables many more people to buy homes than might otherwise be possible. Direct loans may be made for the purchase of an existing home or for new home construction.
Loan Guarantee Program
Under the Guaranteed Loan program, the Housing and Community Facilities Programs guarantees loans made by private sector lenders. (A loan guarantee through HCFP means that, should the individual borrower default on the loan, HCFP will pay the private financier for the loan.) The individual works with the private lender and makes his or her payments to that lender.
Under the terms of the program, an individual or family may borrow up to 100% of the appraised value of the home, which eliminates the need for a down payment. Since a common barrier to owning a home for many low-income people is the lack of funds to make a down payment, the availability of the loan guarantees from HCFP makes the reality of owning a home available to a much larger percentage of Americans.
Mutual Self-Help Housing Program
The Mutual Self-Help Housing Program makes homes affordable by enabling future homeowners to work on homes themselves. With this investment in the home, or "sweat equity", each homeowner pays less for his or her home. Each qualified applicant is required to complete 65% of the work to build his or her own home.
Technical Assistance Grants and Site Loans are provided to nonprofit and local government organizations, which supervise groups of 5 to 12 enrollees in the Self-Help Program. Members of each group help work on each other's homes, moving in only when all the homes are completed.
Once accepted into the Self-Help Housing Program, each individual enrollee generally applies for a Single-Family Housing Direct Loan.
Home Repair Loan and Grant Program
For very low income families who own homes in need of repair, the Home Repair Loan and Grant Program offers loans and grants for renovation. The Home Repair Program also provides funds to make a home accessible to someone with disabilities.
Money may be provided, for example, to repair a leaking roof; to replace a wood stove with central heating; to construct a front-door ramp for someone using a wheelchair; or to replace an outhouse and pump with running water, a bathroom, and a waste disposal system.
Homeowners 62 years and older are eligible for home improvement grants. Other low income families and individuals receive loans at a 1% interest rate directly from HCFP.
Last Updated on 9/27/2007