USDA Rural Development Program Offers Assistance to Residents and Business Owners – Post Bulletin

RED WING — Need help buying your first home? Update a business? The USDA has a few solutions.

The United States Department of Agriculture has opened its Rural Development Program for residents of Goodhue County as well as surrounding towns including Fairbault, Owatonna and Northfield. The program focuses on three areas of development in housing and operating areas such as business, housing and utility programs in rural areas.

Residents who may become eligible for the housing program in Goodhue County and surrounding towns should not be able to obtain financing for a home loan through conventional home lenders such as mortgage brokers. They must also occupy the property they hope to finance with the loan they are applying for from the Rural Development Housing programme.

Chuck Phillips, director of the Faribault Rural Development Office, spoke about additional loan eligibility qualifications for county applicants seeking assistance under the housing program.

“In terms of eligibility, people must either be first-time home buyers or have adequate housing. This can be quite a broad definition as we work with people in a rental situation, people who own a home that is unsuitable for their needs, general property concerns. We can look at doing a rural development loan on a new property and help sell their old one,” Phillips said.

South Main Street on Wednesday, June 8, 2022 at Pine Island.

Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

For those wishing to apply for the Rural Development Housing Program, they should contact the Faribault-based USDA Rural Development Office if they reside in Goodhue, Faribault, Owatonna, or Northfield County. From there, applicants will be directed to the USDA Single Family Housing Direct Loans page to review the resources and training needed to complete the application.

The maximum loan limit for Goodhue residents applying for and receiving financial assistance for the 502 Housing Program is $336,500. Phillips shared that there is no deadline for applicants to apply to the program or receive loans from the program.

“There really is no application date, we accept applications for the fiscal year. There may be times early in our fiscal year, if Congress has not passed a budget, or if we do not have a continuing resolution, where there could be a slight variance and funding. But generally we have funding for them pretty much here in terms of being able to help landlords,” Phillips said.

During 2019-2022, five households in Goodhue County received $905,360 split among them for direct home loans for mortgage payments. In addition, another 224 households received funding of $41,968,000 under the Guaranteed Single-Family Housing Program for Rural Development.

Isle of Pines
South Main Street on Wednesday, June 8, 2022 at Pine Island.

Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

In addition to the 502 rural development housing program, the small town development program was another focal point of the summit on Wednesday morning. The Small Town Development Program is funded by the federal government and the program provides fee-free funds through a competitive grantmaking process that focuses on awarding said grants to towns with populations under 50,000 and to counties with populations under 200,000.

Those seeking to apply for the Small Town Development Program must use the funds for federal purposes such as the elimination of slums and degraded conditions from the inner city or the targeted area of ​​the community for which the program focuses the funding.

Applications for the Small Town Development Program must be submitted by mid-March each year to the Southeastern Minnesota Multi-County Housing and Redevelopment Authority. Once the application is submitted, SEMMCHRA will provide financing to properties or businesses that are current on property taxes, are permanent structures, and have adequate insurance to cover all mortgages, including repayment.

The Small Town Development Program has already planned 20 properties in Goodhue County and 19 on Pine Island. Since its inception in 1987, the Small Town Development Program has rehabilitated 389 properties, an average of 11 per year according to Karen DuCharme, director of administrative development at SEMMCHRA.

About Keneth T. Graves

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