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homeownership month

A Celebration of Homeownership

Homeownership Month 2015 is already coming to the end, and I couldn’t be happier with the celebrations I’ve participated in, read about or listened to stories of.

In 30 days I have visited seven states across our nation to meet the people that work for and with USDA Rural Development to help make homeownership a reality for so many rural American families.

I’ve seen hardworking folks in California and Montana push up the walls to their future homes; I met families in Ohio and Oklahoma who were already moved in, but still thoroughly filled with the joy of homeownership.

Building a Better Future Together: Homeownership Month 2015

Rural America faces a unique set of challenges when it comes to combating poverty in our towns and communities. Too often, rural people and places are hard to reach or otherwise underserved -- but USDA makes sure they are not forgotten. I believe that USDA and its partners have the tools and the means to expand opportunity and better serve those living in poverty.  This month, Homeownership Month, we are celebrating a program that has helped rural families locate and climb ladders of opportunity into the middle class: The Mutual Self-Help Housing Program.

Fifty years ago USDA initiated The Mutual Self-Help Housing Program to provide very low- and low-income families the opportunity to achieve the American dream of homeownership, and in 50 years, USDA has partnered with more than 100 non-profit Self-Help Housing Organizations to help 50,000 rural American families accomplish homeownership.

Silver City, NM, Student Draws Winning Poster for Homeownership Month

The Sixth Street Elementary School in Silver City, New Mexico, has seen a lot of students over the years.  But May 8th 2014 was a very special day at the 130-year-old school. Why? Because 10-year-old Mireya Cisneros, a fourth grader, was honored for her winning illustration for New Mexico’s 2014 National Homeownership Month poster contest.

The theme, “What my home means to me!” was the inspiration for the fourth and fifth grade students who participated in the contest held by USDA Rural Development in New Mexico.

Ohio Habitat for Humanity Home Framed and Rising with Help from 'Team RD'

In commemoration of USDA’s annual Homeownership Month, some industrious Ohio Rural Development team members and I recently spent a sunny day at a Habitat for Humanity building site, helping Marysville resident Michelle Amrine and her two children frame out a place to call their own.

Financed through USDA Rural Development’s Direct Home Loan program, the home is being constructed through Habitat for Humanity of Union County. Although earlier projects in the state included funds for the rehabilitation of already-existing construction, the Amrine house marks the first “from-the-ground-up” collaboration between Ohio Rural Development and Habitat for Humanity.

Making a House a Home - A Labor of Love

June is Homeownership Month.  Today we are sharing a first person account of a 76-year old Kentucky resident who used USDA’s home loan program to purchase her first home.  She submitted this account through the USDA Rural Development Kentucky State Office and we are sharing it so that others who are interested will better understand the steps that must be taken before closing. USDA has helped rural residents purchase homes since 1949. Since the start of the Obama Administration, USDA Direct and Guaranteed home loan programs have helped more than 650,000 rural residents buy houses.   Each buyer has a story.  Here is one of them.

The 'Dream of Homeownership' is More than a Cliché for a Kentucky Family

Imagine for a moment you are a child surrounded by kind strangers – trailers coming and going with large pieces of structure, big cranes lifting and moving objects, women and men pounding nails into wood, saws ripping through timbers and groups of people working together to upright walls that will someday hold your toys.

Imagine being a child who only understands all this commotion through the explanation by his mother and father this will soon be their home. He doesn’t understand words like, “wealth creation”, “equity”, “dream of homeownership”, or other adult terms we use to define the values of owning a home. To him, it is about having a place where he can go outside and play in the yard, a place where his room becomes his refuge on occasion, and a place where he creates and records the moments in life that later become the memories recanted to his children and grandchildren.  For Easton, watching all of this commotion and seeing the kindness of strangers, will be a memory that he will long remember.

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

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.

In Arizona, Rural Development Housing Programs Provide a Stable Environment for Families

The parents were leery about another rental, fearing having to move yet again. Rather serendipitously, the mother saw information on line about USDA Rural Development housing programs. She made a call that changed their lives. As it turned out, the house that they eventually found and qualified for was part of a “green home” renovation in conjunction with other local agencies. The family was able to purchase their home with a loan direct from Rural Development, give their four children a stable home and neighborhood, and the home itself has proven to be so efficient that they are saving monthly on their utility bills.

The family received homebuyer education classes and credit counseling as part of the programs they participated in. The mother said “We are lucky to have found out about you! We have nothing but high praise for the process. Thank you for your dedication to helping families like ours purchase a home.”