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Improving the Integrity of Rural Housing Investments

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has had a profound impact on the American people. Investments were made to create and save jobs, spurring economic activity and long-term growth. As a result, communities and families had access to resources to help lay a stronger foundation for the future of our country. In fact, through USDA’s Single Family Housing Guaranteed Program, over 80,000 American families were able to purchase or maintain a home.

The Recovery Act was implemented with unprecedented levels of accountability and transparency to ensure taxpayer dollars were being used as intended. I was concerned by the findings of the recent audit of our Guaranteed Housing Program, because using government resources effectively and prudently is important to those of us at USDA. While our review of the program shows significantly higher adherence to standards, we take these audits seriously and our Rural Development agency has already taken important steps to address the findings, including:

1. Improving, updating and clarifying loan program requirements and regulations to reflect the current economic climate;

2. Implementing additional quality control procedures to ensure loan rules are followed by those who utilize the program;

3. Finalizing a new rule to require lenders who utilize the program to ensure the soundness of the loan, and;

4. Providing additional training to staff and lenders.

In the months ahead, we’ll continue to implement these and other improvements recommended by our auditors to make sure the program is working as intended and in a manner the American taxpayers demand.

Despite these challenges, I am confident that the overall objective and integrity of the Recovery Act was met by stimulating new home construction and home sales in rural America during a time when the housing market was struggling. Not only did the agency’s loan guarantees provide home ownership opportunities to thousands of low and very-low income households, as the law intended, but also created jobs and economic activity in real estate, construction, and other affected businesses.

6 Responses to “Improving the Integrity of Rural Housing Investments”

  1. Prisilla Cope says:

    Hello. I am happy to read the above about the ARRA. My husband & I are 35 yrs old, have 3 children, ages 13, 11, and 1. My family has land in Duval County, we are interested in beginning our own farm & possibly a general store. We have no capital, however my husband in employed right now full time. I have done some research in start-up farms/beginning farmers; however I haven’t been able to find any grant opportunities for our situation. Only for farms that are already producing. We aspire to help feed our community and local restaurants in a natural & holistic way. Thank you for your time.

  2. Brian Leffler says:

    I am considering the possibility of either building a home or buying an existing home in rural northern Colorado. I would like some information on existing government programs that may be available to me.

  3. Charles W. Thompson says:

    The only grants available to farmers is through the Renewable Energy for America Program, or REAP. This grant covers 25% of total project costs for an existing farm operation to build renewable energy systems or instal energy efficiency components.
    There are no grants available from USDA for a start up farming operation. And, typically, if you are approved for a loan through USDA, you will need to come in with at least some equity. You can get more information from your local USDA Service Center office and online at
    Charles W. Thompson
    SW Colorado Area Director

  4. Jason Lachniet says:

    I have been looking thru all the information that I can find that helps the unemployed and homeless. I have found many programs that help the homeless with things such as food yet I have found nothing to truly help to avoid becoming homeless. I have lost my job as an insurance appraiser due to company downsizing and then again as a body shop manager when the company lost its Ford franchise and ultimatly went out of buisness. Unfortunatly my wife became disabled about one month after colseing on our home, and with the two years it took to get any funds from social security I was forced to use all my savings and even obtain a couple loans to try to stay somewhat afloat. At this point, I have not been able to find employment that would even match what I was recieving from unemployment so in that tearm I could not even accept the one position that I was offered. Now I believe that I could start and manage my own buisness, but all my funds are gone including unemployment, my credit report is totaly destroyd, my home is in the last procedings of forclosure, I cannot find any help with any type of financing for anything. According to the DSS in the State of Connecticut due to my wife’s disability my family of 6 is only eligable for $45. in assistance and any assitance as far as food will take approximatly 3 to 4 months before we may possiably be approved but they have no knowledge of any amount. Does anyone have any ideas on what could be done from here????

  5. Rebecca [USDA Moderator] says:

    Mr. Leffler:

    The Rural Housing Service, an agency within the Rural Development mission area of USDA, offers a variety of programs to provide homeownership opportunities to rural Americans. Section 502 direct loans are used to help very low- and low-income individuals or households acquire, build, repair, renovate, or relocate a home in rural areas. These loans, which are made directly by the agency, generally have a term of 33 years and the interest rate can be effectively reduced by applying payment assistance. Section 502 guaranteed loans are used to help low- and moderate-income individuals or households obtain adequate but modest, decent, safe, and sanitary dwellings and related facilities in rural areas by guaranteeing an approved lender’s loan.

    For more information on the programs and for information on how to apply, please contact the Rural Development Area Office located nearest you which can be found at or contact the Rural Development State Office in Colorado at (720) 544-2903.

  6. roel benavides says:

    · The Hidalgo County Housing Authority (PHA) has been approved by the State (TDHCA) for $8.7 million to repair the Memorial Apartments (246 farmworker/migrant housing units in McAllen, Tx).

    · The PHA has sold the credits and is ready to proceed to construction; however, must have USDA approval. I am a resident of McAllen, Texas and would like to know what I can do to make this project a reality. Ms. Trevino, can you help? RB


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