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USDA Makes Changes to Rural Housing Programs

June is officially National Homeownership Month.  The US Department of Agriculture- Rural Development in Alaska will be celebrating in Juneau on Monday.  However, June also brings some changes to the eligibility requirements for USDA housing programs. 

The announcement released today stated that the changes make it possible for the City and Borough of Juneau to qualify for housing loans.  Public Information officer for the USDA Rural Development Alaska Larry Yerich says there are certain loans that are now available to residents in rural areas of up to 35,000 in population. 

“Due to changes at the national level, funding is being made available for 3 different main programs; direct home loans, guaranteed home loans and home repair loans and grants. The funding is coming from the US Department of Agriculture Rural Development.”

The change in these loan requirements is intended to create jobs and bring about new home construction while injecting more capital into rural areas.  Yerich says the USDA is going to fund people to build homes before they begin construction, rather than after.  He’s hoping that will encourage people to build more in rural communities.

“People who are currently in a position encumbered by a particular finical circumstance may soon be able to not necessarily be able to circumvent those circumstances but find a willing partnership with a housing authority or bank including us where previously certain factors may have mitigated their ability to get into a home. Certainly once you start building new homes, even revitalizing new homes, that’s going to bring in more people and more people by necessity means you have to have more infrastructure.”

Two changes that will go into effect in September of this year are increasing lender eligibility by allowing community banks and credit unions to participate and construction-to-permanent financing that allows financing once construction is complete.