This year, Independence Day will be even more meaningful for tens of thousands of families across the nation. With financing assistance from USDA, they will be able to gather their loved ones in their own homes and back yards to celebrate the holiday as homeowners.
As the Administrator for USDA’s housing programs, I spent the past weeks celebrating National Homeownership Month with rural families who are achieving the American Dream with USDA assistance. On the final day of the month-long celebration, I joined families who are now constructing their homes through USDA’s Mutual Self-Help program, as well as another group of families moving into their new homes just in time to celebrate the Fourth of July.
In the morning, I rolled up my sleeves to join US Representative Susanne Bonamici, Rural Development State Director Vicki Walker, and our local Mutual Self-Help partner Community Home Builders in Lafayette, Oregon, to weatherize new homes under construction by the nine rural families who will live there. Teresa Hernandez (no relation) and her daughter Andrea showed us how to install a special fabric to capture blown-in insulation inside the wall cavities. Together, we prepped three rooms for insulation and sealed up gaps to help them save over $80 per month in energy costs. Although Teresa, Andrea, and the other families are still months from their move-in date, they are already a tight community not only helping make each other’s homes snug, but also sharing down-time and meals together on weekends.
In Castle Rock, Washington, with State Director Mario Villanueva and members of his team, we joined Washington Third District Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler and other dignitaries to celebrate National Homeownership Month with families who have built their homes through Lower Columbia Community Action Program (LCCAP). As I presented each homeowner with a completion certificate, you could see the joy on their faces because they made that final step to own their future and make a difference in their lives and the lives of their families.
“We love our house,” said Lisa Worrell with husband, Jered. “We know everything about it, because we built it. We also know everything about our neighbors because they helped us build it. Now it is time to move in.”
All those years ago, our forefathers secured our future as an independent nation so that succeeding generations would have opportunities to thrive and prosper. Today, looking back on Homeownership Month and getting ready for Fourth of July, I feel quite honored to be part of USDA’s work to ensure continued opportunities for Americans seeking to own their future through homeownership.