USDA funding available to help low-income individuals and families buy or repair homes

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development has funding available for very low- and low-income individuals and families seeking to purchase or repair a home in a rural area.

The Direct Home Loan program offers financing to qualified very-low and low-income applicants that are unable to qualify for traditional financing. No down payment is required, and the interest rate could be as low as 1% with a subsidy. Applicants must meet income and credit guidelines, and demonstrate repayment ability. The program is available in rural communities of generally 35,000 people or less.

The maximum loan amount is $20,000 at a 1% interest rate, repayable for a 20-year term and can be used to improve or modernize homes, and do essential repairs.

Grants of up to $7,500 are available to homeowners 62 and older, and must be used to remove health or safety hazards, such as fixing a leaking roof, in-stalling indoor plumbing, or replacing a furnace.

Time is limited to receive funds for the current fiscal year. Contact a USDA Rural Development Housing Specialist in your area today, to see if you qualify. The nearest specialist is at USDA Rural Development, 1810 30th St. NW, Suite 3, Faribault, MN  55021-1843; Phone: 507-332-7418. USDA  Rural Development loans and grants provide assistance that supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; com-munity services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit