COLUMBUS — In commemoration of National Homeownership Month and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s longstanding commitment to promoting safe, modest housing, Ohio Rural Development state director David L. Hall this week recognized the success of the agency’s rural housing programs.

“Particularly in times of uncertainty, ‘home’ means so much more than just ‘shelter,’” said Hall. “Home is a place to raise our families and put a stake in the ground, and it’s deeply connected to the rural way of life. Although they work hard all year long, this month in particular, we honor the efforts of our housing programs team, lenders, and real estate partners. Together, we renew our pledge to making safe, modest, affordable housing a priority in Ohio’s rural communities.”

In fiscal year 2019, USDA invested more than $492.7 million to help 4,306 families and individuals buy a home in Ohio. The state also provided $1,202,472 for home repairs for 225 very low-income rural residents.

Ample funding is still available in the USDA Single Family Housing programs listed just under in Williams, Defiance, Paulding, Putnam, Henry, Fulton and the rural areas of Lucas, Wood and Hancock counties. Potential applicants may learn more about these programs by contacting USDA Rural Development at 419-422-0242, ext. 4.

• The Single Family Housing Direct Home Loan Program, in which USDA acts as the lender. Some borrowers may qualify for additional program benefits that effectively reduce the interest rate on their monthly mortgage payments to 1%.

• The Single Family Housing Repair Loans and Grants Program, in which eligible owner-occupied households with earnings of less than 50% of the county’s median income may qualify for low-interest loans to help with repairs necessary for safety, health, and accessibility. Loan terms are 1% over 20 years, and a limited amount of grant assistance may be available to eligible applicants ages 62 and older.

Other areas of USDA housing support available to rural Ohioans include:

• The Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program, which works in partnership with private-sector lenders to help low- to moderate-income rural families purchase homes. To learn more about this program, email sfhgld.program@usda.gov.

• The Mutual Self-Help Housing Technical Assistance Grant Program, available to nonprofit organizations which help very-low- and low-income families build their own rural homes.

Additionally, to assist homeowners facing current hardships resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, USDA is offering payment moratoriums and modified application processes. USDA Rural Development is also working with new borrowers and their lenders to make special accommodations based on local needs and restrictions. For the most up-to-date information on Rural Development’s response to COVID-19, visit www.rd.usda.gov/coronavirus. Updates are also distributed via Twitter @usdaRD.

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