The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program has invested nearly $382 million during Fiscal Year 2020 to help 3,382 families in Puerto Rico buy their first home.
The announcement comes as the agency celebrates “National Homeownership Month” during June, as established by a presidential order.
The money invested locally is broken down into $377.7 million in loan guarantees through banks and credit unions, $11 million in direct loans that it approves at a 1% interest rate, and $10.2 million in rental assistance projects, through which participants pay for their dwelling according to their income.
The agency also provided $524,148 under Section 504 for home repairs for 78 very low-income rural residents, said Josué E. Rivera, USDA Rural Development State Director in Puerto Rico.
Through the Housing Preservation Grant, USDA Rural has invested $100,000 to provide safe, sanitary and decent homes in Puerto Rico, he added.
“A pilot program for Section 504 remains available until May 31, 2021. This program allows for an increase in the loan from $20,000 up to $40,000 and allows an increase in grants from $7,500 up to $10,000. This Program is available for 19 States and Puerto Rico,” Rivera said.
To assist homeowners facing current hardships, USDA is offering payment moratoriums and modified application procedures. USDA Rural Development is also working with new borrowers and their lenders to make special accommodations based on local needs and restrictions, the agency said.