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An 87 Year-Old Missouri Resident Enjoys her First Home-Thanks to USDA Support

Posted by Anita J. (Janie) Dunning, Missouri State Director, USDA Rural Development in Rural
Feb 21, 2017
State Director Dunning (4th from right), Ms. Fincher and her family in her new home.

Last year for Homeownership Month we visited Rita Fincher to whom we had made a Single Family Housing Direct loan to help purchase a home.  I was so impressed with her story last year that I decided I wanted to go back and visit her to see “what difference a year had made in her life with her new home.”  Here is her story.

Last year Missouri Rural Development and Ms. Fincher proved that you are never too old to purchase a home.  Whatever the age, everyone should be given a fair opportunity to achieve the American dream – home ownership.  This is what makes our country so great.

Ms. Fincher spent her life raising 10 children in a small mobile home in Park Hills, Missouri.  After her children left the nest, Rita’s mobile home literally began falling in around her.  Last year, at 86 years “young”, Ms. Fincher’s grandson decided to repay his grandmother by helping her find her first home.  Gene Coleman, Rita’s grandson who works as a realtor in St. Louis, Missouri, wanted his grandmother to finally be able to live in a home she could call her own.  Coleman was aware of a foreclosed vacant home owned by a local bank.  Fincher applied for a loan with USDA Rural Development through the Farmington, Mo., Office and was determined eligible through USDA Rural Development’s direct home loan program

The team collaboration did not stop there.  The house was in need of additional care.  USDA Rural Development, along with Rita’s local bank, her family, church, friends, and neighbors all provided her with financial support to make the improvements to the home. 

Last year Rita said, “Even though it needed lots of work, I knew from the beginning that the house would be perfect for me.  I am so thankful for the help from everyone – my family, my friends, and the staff at Rural Development.”  The visit I made with Rita and her family, who came to celebrate with her, was very rewarding.  Her gratitude for finally having a home was apparent.  All this being said I wanted to go back, a year later, and see how she was doing.  I was not disappointed.

87-year old Rita Fincher plays a guitar in her USDA-financed home

Rita and her family again rolled out the red carpet for me and my staff.  She was so excited that we came back to see her.  Now Rita is 87 years old, very active in her church, is a door greeter and I understand if you miss her she will hunt you down to give you a hug.  She tells everyone that her house is her castle.  I asked her to tell me how she was feeling now, a year after getting the home.  She told me that she is fortunate that when she wakes up every morning and opens her eyes she is in this nice, beautiful home.  She says that having this home has really helped her with her health and that before she was very sick but her home has made her young again.  And young she is!  Ms. Fincher plays the guitar and piano and has taught her great grandson to play as well.  She played the guitar for us and she really got it on with “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

Before we left she told me she had one more request from me.  She wanted her grandson to play “Amazing Grace” on the guitar and have all of us sing it with her as she felt so blessed to have us all in her life.  What can I say, whether we carried a tune or not, we sang with Ms. Rita.

I would like to thank Rita Fincher for allowing us to play a role in one of the largest triumphs in her life.  She is a true inspiration to us all and it really was my pleasure to help Rita and her family celebrate this milestone in her life – even at age 87 years young!

To find out how USDA can help you achieve your dream of homeownership, click here.

Category/Topic: Rural