USDA rural home repair opportunities (Keeping the Farm)
(Editor’s note: Denise Lovelady is a state director for USDA Rural Development in Maryland and Delaware.)
As we press headlong toward the cold winter months and the compassionate spirit of the holiday season, our hearts and minds reach out to families in need of running water, roof replacement, and heating and ventilation repairs — just a myriad of home restorations.
Helping people maintain their homes helps families and strengthens their communities.
It’s critical that low-income families can afford to make the necessary fixes, fixes that can, at the very least, help residents avoid violations and maintain safety.
Low and very-low income rural homeowners seeking these vital improvements often call our Rural Development office for some assistance.
With our Single-Family Repair Loans & Grants and Housing Preservation Grants programs, we at the USDA Rural Development strive diligently to provide eligible organizations and home owners with the resources to improve their quality of life.
During FY 2019, one award through the USDA Rural Development Housing Preservation Grant program went to Charles County, Md., for the repair and rehabilitation of rural homes.
With this $55,000 grant award, Charles County will be equipped to offer qualifying homeowners grants and/or low-interest loans to fund major home improvement projects with the goal of removing health and safety hazards.
The Housing Preservation Grant program provides grants to sponsoring organizations for repairing or rehabilitating low and very-low rural owners or occupants’ homes.
Most state and local government entities, as well as nonprofit organizations and federally recognized tribes, can apply.
Individual homeowners should apply directly to the sponsoring organizations.
Rural development also offers the Single Family Housing Repair Loans and Grants through the Section 504 Home Repair program to individual homeowners with an annual income of less than $40,000.
Other applicant qualifications include occupying the home as the owner and possessing an inability to obtain affordable credit elsewhere.
Direct loans for very-low-income homeowners can be utilized to improve or modernize their homes and remove health and safety hazards.
The program also provides grants to very-low-income homeowners who are 62 years old or older and are unable to repay a repair loan.
Section 504 Home Repair Loans are capped at a maximum loan amount of $20,000 and can be repaid over 20 years with fixed rate of 1 percent.
Additionally, the program can award a max grant amount of $7,500 with the potential option of having loans and grants combined for up to $27,500 in assistance.
Applications for the Section 504 Home Repair program are accepted through local RD offices year-round.
Find more information about the Section 504 Home Repair and the Housing Preservation Grant programs on our website.
Applicants can also check the address of their home to determine eligibility.
In closing, I wish The Delmarva Farmer community a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from our great team here at USDA Rural Development in Delaware & Maryland. And remember: Together, America prospers!
1-800-634-5021 410-822-3965 Fax- 410-822-5068
P.O. Box 2026 Easton, MD 21601-8925