By Tony Hernandez and Patty Clark, USDA
Owning your own home is part of the American dream. For 65 years, USDA has helped millions of rural residents achieve the dream of homeownership through our affordable home loan programs. This year, USDA Rural Development has helped nearly 3.4 million rural families and individuals become homebuyers through our homeownership assistance programs.
Affordable home financing creates ladders of opportunity to help families grow and thrive. Every year, USDA Rural Development’s direct and guaranteed home loans help tens of thousands of rural residents become homeowners. Since 2009, USDA Rural Development has made or guaranteed home loans for more than 11,000 rural Kansas residents.
Homeownership is a conduit to neighborhood, family and community, and the positive impact of more than 3 million rural American homeowners across the U.S. is difficult to overstate. The benefits extend beyond the homeowners themselves. Homeownership creates economic opportunities for home builders, for providers of durable goods such as lumber or appliances, and for Realtors. Local governments benefit from increased revenue through property taxes. Simply put, the millions of rural homebuyers assisted through USDA are strengthening the rural economy and helping small-town, rural America remain vital and vibrant.
At its core, homeownership is about families, preserving rural values and the rural way of life. Research shows that families experience greater educational achievement, improved health and reduced crime in areas with higher homeownership rates.
We also have a home repair loan program, and grants for very-low-income seniors, to help homeowners protect and preserve their most precious asset.
In 2013 alone, Rural Development helped more than 170,000 rural residents become homeowners through direct loans, guaranteed loans, grants and technical assistance to provide them with affordable, safe homes. In both people and dollars, 2013 was the most successful year on record in the history of USDA’s single-family housing programs.
Although rural America is changing due to the rise of new technologies like the Internet and the advent of globalism, one thing still holds true: homeownership remains one of the most important factors that help rural residents thrive and prosper economically.
During National Homeownership Month, please join us as we celebrate these rural families who, with USDA’s help, are investing in their future through a home of their own.
Tony Hernandez administers USDA Rural Development’s housing and community development programs. Patty Clark is the USDA Rural Development State Director in Kansas. More information about USDA homeownership assistance is available on the Rural Development website.