Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Tuesday kicked off National Homeownership Month by highlighting programs to help rural residents buy, refinance and repair homes.
“Home ownership should be an achievable dream and in many cases, USDA housing programs provide the only way for rural residents to buy a home,” said Vilsack. “Working with our partners in the lending community and with state and local housing authorities, we are continuing to make safe, affordable housing available to credit-worthy applicants across the nation.”
José Otero-García, Rural Development State Director for Puerto Rico, said the USDA has helped rural residents purchase homes since 1949. Since the start of the Obama Administration, USDA Direct and Guaranteed home loan programs have helped more than 650,000 rural residents buy houses nationwide.
USDA is providing additional support for rural housing through a pilot program enabling USDA borrowers to refinance their home loans at today’s low interest rates. Introduced in 2012 and expanded to Puerto Rico this year. It has already enabled more than 5,500 USDA-backed homeowners to refinance $750 million in mortgages nationwide.
USDA, its state and federal partners, members of the housing community, lenders and communities across the country celebrate National Homeownership Month each June to bring attention to the role housing plays in the economy.
This year’s theme, “USDA: Bringing Rural America Home,” underscores housing’s importance to millions of rural residents.