In recognition of Homeownership Month this June, USDA Rural Development (RD) New York’s State Office had the privilege of celebrating the newest homeowner on the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation. Randa Martin and her four children welcomed the RD team and staff from the Akwesasne Housing Authority to their newly constructed home in Hogansburg, N.Y., a community on St. Regis Mohawk tribal land. RD presented the family with a red maple tree, planted together with Martin’s sons in memory of their late father, Richard Lebehn.
In 2022, Martin and Lebehn applied for a Single Family Housing Direct Loan from RD to move into a four-bedroom, three-bathroom home with a custom-designed kitchen for Lebehn, a career chef in the Akwesasne community.
Long-time USDA housing partner, the Akwesasne Housing Authority worked with the family to develop the housing specs. Tragically, during the process of constructing their family home, Lebehn unexpectedly passed away. Despite the devastating loss, Martin and her children continued to fulfill this family’s dream of homeownership, closing on the project in May 2023. To further support the family, the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe’s Home Improvement Division awarded Martin with a $10,000 grant, which paid for most of her foundation and reduced her loan amount, keeping it affordable for her, now a single mother of four.
“This is one more great example of how members of the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, the Akwesasne Housing Authority, and the USDA are continuing to build our partnership, expand our friendship and increase our collective prosperity,” said Brian Murray, New York State Director for RD.
The home is next door to Martin’s sister, Brittany, who also received financing from RD to construct a new house for her family.
“This is OUR home sweet home!” said Martin. When asked if she had any words of encouragement for those that may be interested in working with USDA on homeownership, she added, “If I can do it, so can you!”
The Single Family Housing program helps applicants buy housing in eligible rural areas by providing payment assistance to increase an applicant’s repayment ability. Visit the Single Family Housing program webpage or contact a Rural Development State Office or www.rd.usda.gov to learn more about USDA homeownership programs near you.