Today, June 1, is the first day of National Homeownership Month, which is celebrated each June to highlight the important role housing plays in creating jobs, maintaining viable rural communities and contributing to the economy.
Since the start of the Obama Administration, USDA Rural Development has helped more than 520,000 rural families and individuals buy a home. That’s an impressive number. Safe, sanitary housing is a basic human need, and behind each individual loan that USDA supports is a story of how our programs satisfy that need.
For example, Rural Development helped Theresa Jetland of Ilwaco, Wash., buy her first home. Jetland, a single working mother raising two teenagers, qualified to buy a home after she completed a local program that helps low- and moderate-income renters obtain employment that leads to economic independence. Jetland bought a home guaranteed by USDA Rural Development and received payment assistance from the Longview Housing Authority.
This year’s Homeownership Month theme is “Now is the Time.” Mortgage interest rates are at or near record lows and housing prices are more affordable than they have been in nearly a generation. The Obama Administration continues to champion policies that are strengthening communities and driving the economic rebound. For example, In February, Secretary Vilsack announced a 19-state pilot program for homeowners to get lower monthly mortgage payments.
The program enables rural residents with mortgages issued or backed by USDA Rural Development to refinance their loans at today’s low interest rates. It is part of President Obama’s ongoing efforts to help middle-class families, create jobs and strengthen the economy. It will save homeowners time and money and help ensure that hardworking, creditworthy borrowers protect their investment and remain in their homes.
Communities across the nation are holding events and activities during June to highlight our role in providing homeownership opportunities for rural residents. Local and USDA officials will discuss the benefits of homeownership and share information on ways families can become homeowners or refinance their homes.
For more than 60 years, USDA has helped rural residents realize their homeownership dreams through guaranteed (by lender partners) and direct loans. USDA Rural Development has funds available now through the Single Family Housing Direct Loan program to help low-income rural families become homeowners. Interested parties should contact the nearest USDA Rural Development office. A list of these offices is available on our website.