During their seven years of marriage, Miguel and Sandra Duarte and their two children became tired of living in an apartment. Then one hot summer day in 2012, Mr. Duarte, a surveyor, found himself working on a housing subdivision in Sunland Park, New Mexico on the Mexican border. That’s when he asked his boss, “I wonder if I could buy one of these homes?”
Soon he was in the Las Cruces, New Mexico USDA Rural Development office talking with housing staff about homeownership. After qualifying for a Rural Development direct home loan the construction of the Duarte home soon began. As soon as the final electric connection is made to the house the Durate’s will move into their new home later this month.
Not far away in Deming, N.M., two single moms working in local fast food restaurants were pursuing their own dreams of homeownership. Yvonne Marquez and Marianna Wheeler are each using USDA’s loan programs to purchase their first home. The two women enjoy taking their children to the construction site to see the progress being made. Both are anxious to move into their new homes and are determined to make sure their children grow up in a home they can call their own.
These three families all are benefiting from the USDA StrikeForce initiative. This effort brings together staff, organizations, and individuals to better use the financial and technical support offered by the department in very poor communities located in southern New Mexico. Recently, USDA Rural Development New Mexico State Director Terry Brunner visited these families to celebrate homeownership and recognize the work of USDA’s StrikeForce partners.
Rural Development staff has worked over the years to provide housing opportunities in these poverty stricken communities along the Mexican border. Since its inception the StrikeForce initiative has brought forward additional partners such as the YWCA which helped the Duarte family with classes and counseling designed to help the borrower be more successful as a homebuyer and homeowner.
The Southwestern Regional Housing & Community Development Corporation (SRHCDC) another non-profit organization based in Deming, New Mexico has stepped up its relationship with USDA Rural Development since Luna County was designated a StrikeForce county. The organization has become a major partner with Rural Development in single family housing, multifamily housing, and business programs. SRHCDC provided first-time homebuyer assistance to both Monica Wheeler and Yvonne Marquez. USDA’s partnership with SRHCDC has increased the delivery of USDA loans to these border communities.
The StrikeForce Initiative successes are becoming more evident with the work being done by USDA and its partners. How? This Christmas will see the Duarte, Marquez and Wheeler families as well as others celebrate the holiday for the first time in a place they call “home”.
For more information on USDA Rural Development programs click here.