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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 65 years of delivering housing assistance.
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.
Here in New Mexico since the start of the Obama Administration, USDA Rural Development has made direct or guaranteed loans for more than 10,000 rural residents.
For example, 21-year old Marianna Wheeler of Deming, and her 3-year-old son, Gilbert Ray became two of those 10,000 homeowners after they moved into a new home which was made possible through USDA’s Rural Development Direct Home loan program.
We also provide 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 nationwide 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.
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 homebuilders, 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.
President Barack Obama has said the true engine of America’s economic growth is a rising and thriving middle class. For most Americans, a home is the largest single investment they will make — and the largest asset they will hold — in their lifetime. A home is a monumental waypoint on these families’ journey toward a brighter financial future. Homeownership helps build equity, assets, and long-term financial security — the foundation for upward mobility.
Even though rural America is changing to keep pace with the world, 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, 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.
Terry Brunner is the USDA Rural Development state director in New Mexico. More information about USDA homeownership assistance is available on the Rural Development website.