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USDA Rural Development and Habitat for Humanity Partner to Help a Kentucky Mom Build and Finance Her First Home

Posted by Katherine Belcher, Kentucky USDA Public Information Officer in Rural
Feb 21, 2017
Participating in the ground breaking are (from left) Mary Shearer (Executive Director of Kentucky Habitat for Humanity); Chase Crigler (field representative for U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell); prospective homeowner Suzanna Hoskins and her three children; State Director Tom Fern; State Senator Don Blevins and Melissa Patrick (Morehead State University).

History was made in a small rural Kentucky community last week as ground was broken on a new home in Morehead. This project marks the first time that USDA Rural Development and Habitat for Humanity have collaborated to help a formerly homeless single mother take her first steps toward becoming a first-time homeowner.

Suzanna Hoskins tried hard to contain her emotions as ground was broken on the site of her new home, on July 17, 2012.  She was not successful, tears welling up in her eyes as she expressed her gratitude and amazement at the outpouring of support she has received since approaching Habitat for Humanity about a home for herself and her three children.

“It’s so amazing to see so many people help me and my kids – strangers really – people who don’t even know us … step up and volunteer to help build us a home,” said Hoskins. “I can’t tell you how thankful I am, not just for me, but for my kids. They will have a home now.”

Hoskins was living in a homeless shelter when she came to the attention of the local Habitat office in Morehead.  She was caring for three children between the ages of four and 10. She was not looking for a handout, but rather a hand up – and Habitat was glad to assist, as was Rural Development.

Prospective Suzanna Hoskins and her children Timothy (age 10), Shyanna (age 8 ) and Drake (age 4) with USDA Rural Development State Director Tom Fern.

Rural Development approved Hoskins for a very-low interest Direct Home Loan, which will be used to pay for building materials. Habitat volunteers are providing the labor. Her new home will have three bedrooms and two baths and will be super-insulated and energy-efficient – with utilities expected to cost approximately $15 per month. In order to be eligible for Habitat’s assistance, Hoskins is required to provide a maximum of 500 sweat equity hours toward the build and complete a homeownership counseling class.

Now, as she waits for her new energy-efficient home to be built, she is working for Goodwill Industries and living in temporary housing – and counting down the days until she and her kids have a place of their own which they helped build.

To find out about the USDA Self Help Housing Program, the Direct Loan Program and other USDA housing programs click here.

Category/Topic: Rural