Recently, I visited the Habitat for Humanity homes on Cape Cod, Massachusetts in celebration of National Homeownership Month, a time to recognize the important role that housing plays in the economy. The construction of these homes was made possible through loans from USDA Rural Development (RD).
The partnership between USDA Rural Development and the Cape Cod Chapter of Habitat for Humanity continues to help provide numerous low-income families with safe, affordable, and well-built homes. USDA Rural Development and the Cape Cod Chapter of Habitat for Humanity first partnered in 2011. In FY 2013, USDA Rural Development financed four out of five of the Habitat homes built on Cape Cod, and they are currently on track to finance eight more Habitat homes being built on Cape Cod in FY 2014.
I was able to see firsthand how this partnership has benefited many families in need, such as the Richards family. Michael Richards and his wife Heidi Richards, both grew up on the Lower Cape and wanted to raise their two small children there. Heidi told us that even though her husband was working two jobs, they found it difficult to find an affordable home. Thanks to the partnership, the family is able to see their future in the newly constructed home of their own in rural Massachusetts, close to where Mr. and Mrs. Richards were raised. That’s what we mean by Own Your Future, the theme of this year’s homeownership month recognition.
This is just one of the many examples of how USDA RD has helped American families living in rural communities.
Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, highlighted the importance of well-constructed, economical homes in rural communities saying, “By providing access to affordable, safe housing, we don’t just help American families--we help make rural communities a great place to call home.” Homeownership can help provide economic security, which can lead to increased investments in education, business startups, and retirement. This is important in strengthening communities in rural America. I am proud of USDA Rural Development’s commitment to making homeownership a reality for rural Americans.
For more information on the USDA Self Help Housing Program, the Direct Loan Program and other USDA housing programs, please visit the USDA Rural Development Single Family Housing Loans and Grants website.