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Delaware Homeownership Month Celebration Focuses on Rural Housing, Rural Jobs

Local construction contractors attended a June 22nd ‘work day’ event in the Crescent Shores Subdivision in Lincoln, Delaware to tell the audience of volunteers, homeowners and federal and state officials of how the USDA Rural Development Self-Help Housing Program has kept their businesses alive.

The Self-Help Housing Program was established as a path to homeownership for very-low to low-income families, utilizing a sweat equity model.  It is the only federally –funded homeownership program specifically for rural America. Read more »

Faces of the Forest Celebrates David Ferrell

David Ferrell seems to rebound from setbacks with a vengeance.

During his first semester of college, his mother fell ill and he had to drop out to help take care of her and his four younger siblings. Back home, Ferrell met Charles Minor, a local Virginia man who would become a lifelong influence and who convinced Ferrell to sign up for the Job Corps, his foray into the U.S. Forest Service. Read more »

FACT vs. FICTION: USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

Over the last 15 years, the USDA has made great strides in our efforts to reduce fraud and abuse in its programs.  Payment accuracy has never been higher:  in FY 2010, 96.19 percent of all benefits were issued correctly, the fourth consecutive year the program has achieved a historically high rate.  Without this improvement, the cost of improper payments would have been $356 million higher.  Trafficking in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has also declined, from four percent of benefits to its current level of one percent.  While these are positive trends, any trafficking or error is too much, and we will continue to be aggressive in efforts to improve integrity and maintain public confidence that benefits are being used responsibly.  But we know that misinformation and confusion about SNAP exists and so we have highlighted some of the most common misconceptions and presented the facts below. Read more »

A USDA Acting Deputy Under Secretary Meets with Those Affected by Midwest Flooding

Flooding devastation  in Missouri put farmland underwater.

Flooding devastation in Missouri put farmland underwater.

On the heels of Secretary Vilsack’s visit to the Midwest last week to inspect Missouri River flood damage to area farms and communities, Farm and Foreign Service (FFAS) Acting Deputy Under Secretary Karis Gutter stopped by Mounds City, Missouri and Hamburg, Iowa to hear from local producers, and to see for himself the devastating effects of the flooding. Read more »

Alaskan Tlingit Elder Leaves Long-Lasting Legacy

The Forest Service fondly remembers the contributions of  Dr. Walter A. Soboleff, a centenarian deeply revered and Tlingit elder, who died last month at the age of 102.

Located in Alaska, the Tlingit are a Native society that developed a complex hunter-gatherer culture in the temperate rainforest of the Alexander Archipelago in the Southeastern part of the state. The people in this society were the original caretakers of natural resources where the current-day Tongass National Forest exists. Read more »

With USDA Support, a Colorado Resident has a New Home

Left to right – Standing on the deck of Greg Kane’s new residence in the Colorado mountains.   Greg Kane, Homeowner;  Alan Stephens, Acting Rural Development Housing Chief of Staff; and Colorado State Director Jim Isgar.

Left to right – Standing on the deck of Greg Kane’s new residence in the Colorado mountains. Greg Kane, Homeowner; Alan Stephens, Acting Rural Development Housing Chief of Staff; and Colorado State Director Jim Isgar.

Owning a home in the same area where he built his business is a win-win for new homeowner Greg Kane.  In early June 2011, Kane purchased his studio condominium at Riverbend, Colorado,  through the help of US Bank Home Mortgage and the USDA Rural Development Guaranteed Rural Housing Loan Program.  Homeownership was the right answer for Kane’s housing dilemma.  Over the past four years as a renter he moved five times.  While his relationships with property owners had always been great, it seemed that something always came up. Twice the homes he was renting were sold and the new owners chose to use it as their primary residence. Read more »