A story of success in rural development: the Dennis family finds a home without borders

by Cortney Bealer, Public Affairs Specialist for Rural Development (rd.usda.gov/newsroom/success-stories/dennis-family-finds-home-without-boundaries)

The Dennis family, Marc “Bill” and Nicole, opened their new home in Carneys Point earlier this year. Mrs. Dennis is in a wheelchair and their home will be built with handicap accessible features throughout. The Dennis family is more than happy because finding a home that meets their needs has been quite a challenge. Mrs. Dennis is particularly pleased to have a bespoke kitchen where she can cook comfortably.

“Rural development and Habitat for Humanity gave us not just a house, but a home. A place where we will create memories for many years to come,” Nicole said. “Knowing that we will be able to live there without limits is more than words can express. This experience was different from other services because everyone who helped us saw us as people, not just a sales number. In past experiences, we have been told, “I found the perfect place for you; it has a ramp. Rural Development and everyone at Habitat for Humanity realize that having a home we can live in comfortably requires more than a ramp to enter.

The Dennis family used the Habitat for Humanity program and received a low-interest loan through the USDA Rural Development (RD) single-family housing direct program. Also known as a Section 502 Direct Loan, the program makes home ownership possible for families who never thought it was possible.

“Bill and I have been looking for a place to call home for many years now. We are thrilled to have a place to live without boundaries. The homes we have visited in the past were great but never seemed to accommodate my limitations physical. It’s not just a home for us; it’s a home. A place designed specifically around my disability,” Nicole said.

RD and Habitat for Humanity of Salem County have a long and successful history of working together to help New Jersey families build their own homes. Since 2018, the partnership has resulted in ten homes for Garden State families, helping them own their own piece of the American dream. The partnership is a good model capitalizing on the strengths of both organizations with USDA RD serving as the lender and Habitat for Humanity serving as the builder.

“Overall, our experiences with rural development have been wonderful,” explained Nicole. “Without Rural Development and Habitat for Humanity, we might never have had the opportunity to become homeowners. We had many bumps in the road, but we never gave up on the dream of owning our own home. With the help of everyone at Habitat for Humanity, we were able to navigate through the endless roadblocks given to us and for that we will be forever grateful.

About Keneth T. Graves

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