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The USDA Rural Development Program

Many rural communities across the U.S.A. are drying up and dwindling in population and economic strength. With more and more people moving to the big cities and fewer people continuing the farming business and commercial activity in farming communities, how will small-town America survive?

Enter the United States Dept. of Agriculture (USDA). This executive branch government institution is the biggest promoter of rural development in America. Through the USDA, individuals and families can seek help and assistance with loans for housing, business, and community development, as well as public utilities for rural areas.

Home Financing

The USDA Housing and Community Facilities Program was designed to help low to moderate income families with home ownership in rural communities with populations of 20,000 or less.

Home loan guarantee The USDA also provides a home loan guarantee program for eligible individuals and families. The home loan guarantee is made to third-party lending agencies, such as banks and mortgage loan companies who loan money to individuals and families looking to purchase homes in rural communities. With the USDA home loan program, families can borrow up to 100% of a home's value, including closing costs. The USDA assures and guarantees that should a borrower default on a loan the USDA will repay the lender.

Also with the help of USDA home loan programs, home seekers can get help building their own home, or renovating and repairing an existing home for occupancy. The Mutual Self-Help Housing Program provides affordable loans that allow families to invest their own “sweat equity” in building much of their own homes. The Home Repair and Grant Program also offers valuable financial aid to low-income families who own homes to make needed repairs and renovations.

Community Business Development

Loans and grants are available through the USDA Business and Community Development Program. Through this program, the USDA provides financial assistance for business loans that stimulate the rural economy by creating commercial businesses, jobs, and community facilities and partnerships.

Community facilities Essential community facilities can be developed through direct and guaranteed loans, as well as grants, through the Community Facilities Program. Loans can be obtained for the development of public use facilities such as hospitals, libraries, schools, police, fire & rescue stations, and community centers. The USDA wants to assure that these types of community facilities are available to all rural communities.

Public Utilities

In the 1930's, electrification was difficult to reach in rural communities. The U.S. government developed the Rural Electrification Administration, which later became part of the USDA services to help provide electricity to rural areas. This program still provides a pivotal role in providing utilities and improving quality of life in rural areas.

With the help of the USDA, public utilities program financial help and partnership agreements with utility companies help get essential utilities, such as water, waste management, electricity, and telecommunications, to rural areas. Rural communities benefit through the loans made to utility companies for development and distribution channels of utility services.

The USDA is committed to the development of rural areas in the United States, and assuring that rural communities receive the financial assistance needed in order to survive and thrive. Through USDA assistance programs, families can obtain home loans, communities can develop community facilities, and utility companies can reach rural areas with essential utility services.

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