Written by Adam Czech, Public Information CoordinatorThere’s a unique story behind each home loan and home repair project financed by USDA Rural Development in Minnesota. On June 9, State Director Colleen Landkamer and her staff visited three homeowners to celebrate June Homeownership Month and learn more about their stories.
“I think it is amazing how many people we are able to help become home owners and remain in their homes each year through our programs,” Landkamer said. “Visiting with the people that use our programs really highlights the importance of home ownership in strengthening our rural communities.”
Landkamer and staff were joined at each home by staff from Congressman Collin Peterson’s office. Each home owner received an American flag that flew above the U.S. Capital as a gift from Congressman Peterson.
Below is a brief recap of what makes each person’s story unique.
After almost 10 years of renting, Melissa Miller is finally a home owner. Melissa, along with her two children moved into her first home in Brandon, Minn., in late April using a USDA Rural Development direct home loan.
“I never dreamed I would own a home,” Miller said. “It’s still kind of surreal, but we did it.”
Melissa put herself through school and works two jobs to support her family. Rural Development partnered with the West Central Minnesota Community Action agency to build Miller’s home. “Right now I am loving life,” Melissa said. “Being a home owner means a lot to me and I couldn’t be happier.”
Jessica Botten’s daughter McKenna, 5, had just one request after moving into her new home: She wanted a pink room.
Jessica closed on her home in Alexandria, Minn., on Dec. 10. A phlebotomist at a nearby clinic, Jessica previously rented an apartment next to a motor racing track, not exactly the most peaceful location to live.
“The home is ideal for McKenna and I,” she said. “She can play in our yard, there’s more room for her toys. I really feel like I’m home now.”
And, yes, she was able to paint McKenna’s room pink.
Dorcella Hagen keeps a guest book in her home in Cyrus, Minn., so she will always remember who came to visit her. One night after a dinner party, one of her guests noticed a moisture spot on her ceiling. It turned out that Dorcella’s roof needed to be replaced.
On a fixed income after a car accident left her disabled, Dorcella used Rural Development’s home repair program to fix her roof, remove the moisture from her ceiling and stay in the home she’s owned since 1994.
“When I told people that some folks from the USDA were going to come visit me today, they wondered why I was having meat inspectors to my house,” Dorcella said. “I told them the USDA works with housing, too. And I couldn’t be more grateful for the program.”
For more information about USDA’s home loan programs click here.
New homeowner Melissa Miller (Left) and Colleen Landkamer, State Director, USDA Rural Development, celebrate Miller’s accomplishment.