Elizabeth Bonner’s new, energy efficient Kentucky home, funded in part by USDA Rural Development.
To Elizabeth Bonner, the single greatest thing about her new home is the serenity she feels as she sits on her covered back porch, listening to the water as it rolls over the rocks that line the creek bed bordering the back of her property. Read more »
U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack joined Obama Administration Cabinet members Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan, as well as Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate, Small Business Administration Administrator Karen Mills, and other state and local officials to tour areas in Alabama and Mississippi affected by last week’s tornadoes.
After visiting devastated sites in Birmingham and nearby areas, the group crossed over to Mississippi, where they surveyed the damage done to Smithville, a town of approximately 1000 that was almost literally wiped off the map. Read more »
The Obama Administration’s Partnership for Sustainable Communities initiative is led by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency with participation by USDA and other agencies. The map shown here illustrates the geographic reach of several HUD and DOT programs that are included in the Partnership.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development recently awarded $40 million in Sustainable Community Challenge Grants to help support local planning designed to integrate affordable housing, good jobs and public transportation. These grants are designed to foster reform and reduce barriers to achieving affordable, economically vital and sustainable communities. The funds will be used by communities, large and small, to address local challenges to integrating transportation and housing. Read more »
Earlier this month I joined USDA Deputy Undersecretary for Natural Resources and Conservation, (NRCS) Ann Mills, and Deputy Director of the Executive Secretariat, David Aten, in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont for a “Great Regions” convening.
Federal, state and local officials joined members of the Northeast Kingdom Collaborative and we shared some of the great progress Rural Business Opportunity Grant (RBOG) recipients have made and spoke about the challenges the communities of the three-county Kingdom face in securing a healthy, culturally robust and economically successful future. Read more »
Before partners broke ground on two important community projects on November 15, tribal member Dayna Boyce performed a sacred blessing over the Maliseet tribal land, offering tobacco to bless the earth and giving thanks to the earth for the land to build upon. The Tribe will soon have a brand new state-of-the-art health center and six units of much-needed affordable family housing, thanks to its own contributions and assistance from USDA Rural Development and partners. Read more »
Submitted by USDA Rural Development Maine State Director Virginia Manuel with assistance from Beverly StoneUSDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel congratulated Jason and Jessica Sockbeson on their new home during an open house in Indian Island, Maine to celebrate National Homeownership Month. Funding was provided by Rural Development through the Direct Home Loan program; The Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Penobscot Nation provided subsidies to reduce the cost of the home.
The home is a LEED Gold Certified energy efficient home promoting energy conservation and affordability. This is the first home financed on the Penobscot Nation reservation through Rural Development’s One Stop Mortgage documents. “This represents a landmark event for Rural Development and the Penobscot Nation because funding is now available for those within this community to construct new homes,” Manuel said. “This program provides affordable housing opportunities for families and allows them to remain in their community and close to their family and culture.”
LEED certification is the recognized standard for measuring building sustainability. This certification is the best way to demonstrate that your building is truly “green.” The rating system has various levels for new construction. Platinum is the highest and Gold is the next to highest certification offered through this process.
Rural Development, the Penobscot Nation, other partners, and the homeowners are especially pleased to have been able to achieve this level of construction for better energy savings and to reduce their carbon footprint.
The Sockbesons are thrilled to have a home of this caliber for less than they were previously paying in rent. Manuel said, “We are delighted that Chief Kirk Francis of the Penobscot Nation, representatives from the entire Maine Congressional Delegation staffs and the local lender were present to help us celebrate this event with the Sockbeson family.”
From left to right: Jaxson, 2; Jaedan, 6; Jason and his wife, Jessica holding Jillian, 3 months