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USDA Rural Development Brings a New Home to One Rural Mississippian

(Front row, from right to left) State Director George, Ms. Spearman, Ms. Monger, and Grenada Mayor Collins stand in front of Ms. Monger’s new home in Grenada.

(Front row, from right to left) State Director George, Ms. Spearman, Ms. Monger, and Grenada Mayor Collins stand in front of Ms. Monger’s new home in Grenada.

Homeownership Month was truly meaningful to one senior citizen in Grenada, Mississippi who received a new home, thanks to USDA Rural Development’s home loan program and to the pro-activity of State Director Trina George.

Letha Monger lived with her daughter, Betty Spearman, in a small house that built over 50 years ago by her grandfather. Ms. Monger’s home was falling apart, heavily infested with mold and soot, and had become a hazard.

Ms. Monger was not aware that USDA Rural Development could help. However, a number of Grenada officials and residents, concerned about Ms. Monger, approached Mississippi USDA Rural Development State Director Trina George.

“I was asked to go out to the house and to look for myself,” said George. “The description of the situation was so distressing that I had to see if it was a bad as it sounded. When I got there and was given permission to look at the property, I really just could not believe that a person lived in the old home. I asked her if she would like to be in a better, safer home, and then I got the team in our Grenada office working on making it happen.”

Thelma Glasco remembers that day. As Area Director of the Grenada County office, she and Sandra Jones, Grenada Local Office supervisor, scheduled a field visit to the home after receiving the call from George. “The local office, upon hearing about Ms. Monger’s dire situation, moved quickly to get her a safer home at affordable costs,” said Glasco.

The “before” photo of the old home of Ms. Monger in Grenada, which was a hazard.

The “before” photo of the old home of Ms. Monger in Grenada, which was a hazard.

Ms. Monger’s home was beyond repair, ruling out USDA Rural Development 504 funds to repair the dwelling.  However, Ms. Monger was eligible for a low-interest, 33-year loan from USDA Rural Development’s 502 home loan program.  To supplement this, Ms. Monger also received a grant from a state agency through the City of Grenada.

“We were glad to work with State Director George and the agency to obtain this grant for Ms. Monger, who was in a very dangerous situation,” said Grenada Mayor Billy Collins. “Her outreach visits led to an improved living situation for Ms. Monger. This fast action is typical of USDA Rural Development.”

“I can’t say enough about the good work of Mayor Collins and the City of Grenada, as well as the state agencies we dealt with,” said George. “The grant they secured for Ms. Monger was a cornerstone of the successful effort to get her into a better, safer home. They understood the situation and responded.”

As a result of State Director George and the teamwork of federal, state, and city governments, Ms. Monger was able to purchase an existing home in a nice neighborhood in Grenada.  A celebration was held at the home in late June during National Homeownership Month. Ms. Janet Kinard of Coldwell Bankers was also on hand for the celebration.

“Thanks to State Director George and my friends at USDA Rural Development, Mom now has a better home and one that she can pass down to her kin for generations to come,” said Spearman.

Mississippi’s USDA Rural Development State Director Trina George tours the old home of Ms. Monger in January 2011.

Mississippi’s USDA Rural Development State Director Trina George tours the old home of Ms. Monger in January 2011.

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