USDA Rural Development has a long history of providing rural Americans with access to safe, sanitary and affordable housing. In interior Alaska, quality housing is a basic need. Temperatures regularly plunge far below zero, often to as cold as -60 F. Thanks to extra effort on the part of some dedicated USDA employees, this winter a number of rural families in interior Alaska communities will have homes they can be proud of.
USDA housing programs have been provided for decades, but in 2009 Congress provided additional funding to USDA through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) and USDA Rural Development’s state and area office staffs across the nation stepped up to the challenge.
In Fairbanks, Alaska, USDA Loan Specialist Kim Wood and Housing Technician Jane Gibson broke office lending records during fiscal year 2010, both in housing loan volume and Community Facilities loans and grants. In recognition of their efforts, Wood and Gibson were honored earlier this month by Fairbanks Neighborhood Housing Services. They were presented with the “Lender of the Year” award at the non-profit agency’s Annual Meeting held November 3. Laura Burke, Executive Director and Erica Vilardi, Loan Officer, presented the award.
“Helping residents of rural Alaska is the best part of my job,” said Wood. “It’s why Jane and I come to work every day. In most cases the families and individuals we help would have no recourse other than our programs. That’s what makes USDA Rural Development so special.”
Wood and Gibson processed and closed 26 housing loans valued at a total of $4.8 million; 14 home repair grants, and one home repair loan. The Interior Alaska office also made 3 Community Facilities loans and grants, two of which were funded through the Recovery Act.
To learn more about USDA Rural Development’s home loan programs click here. Limited income homeowners may be eligible to apply for a 1 percent loan to make needed home improvements. Home improvement grants are also available to very limited-income senior homeowners age 62 and older. To find out more click here. For complete information, or to talk to a housing specialist in your area, contact your USDA Rural Development state office.