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USDA Rural Development State Director Terry Brunner joined members of the New Mexico Congressional Delegation Thursday and other state and federal agencies to convey that there is help available to those residents needing to replace or repair heating systems.
During the forum, Brunner announced, “Our agency is committed to working with very low income families and individuals that need to replace old, outdated heating, water and electrical systems in their homes.”
Brunner is referring to the Section 504 home loan and grant program which is available to very low-income rural residents who own and occupy a home in need of repairs. Funds can be used to improve or modernize a home, or to remove health and safety hazards. This loan is a 1% loan that may be repaid over a 20-year period.
To apply for one of these loans, homeowner-occupants must be unable to obtain affordable credit elsewhere and must have a very low income. Very low income is defined as below 50 percent of the area median income. Grants are only available to homeowners who are 62 years old or older and cannot repay a Section 504 loan.
A real estate mortgage and full title services are required for loans of $7,500 or more. Grants have to be repaid if the property is sold in less than 3 years.
Grant funds may only be used to pay for repairs and improvements resulting in the removal of health and safety hazards. A grant/loan combination is made if the applicant can repay part of the cost. Loans and grants can be combined for up to $27,500 in assistance.
Brunner also announced that USDA staff will hold office hours next week in Española and Taos to take applications for these programs. This will take place on Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the USDA Service Center located at 424 South Riverside Drive.