Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 1, 2014

Program helps homeowners fund repairs

Jun 03, 2013

DES MOINES — Iowa’s long winter and recent spring rains can really take a toll on homes, especially older ones with aging roofs, siding or windows.

If your house is in need of essential repairs this spring USDA Rural Development has low-interest loans and grants available to help eligible families make needed improvements. Loans have a fixed interest rate as low as 1 percent and typically may be repaid over a term of 20 years.

Grants are available to help applicants who are 62 or older, and who cannot repay a loan, remove health and safety hazards or to make the home accessible for a disabled family member.

“These loans and grants help eligible families make needed repairs that they otherwise couldn’t afford,” said Bill Menner, USDA Rural Development State Director in Iowa. “Through this program, a family can get a $3,000 loan that has a monthly payment as low as $13.80.”

Examples of eligible projects include repair/replacement of storm doors, windows, steps, furnaces, water heaters or roofs. Funds can also be used for insulation, electrical, plumbing, septic and water systems, and to provide accessibility for persons with disabilities. Homes repaired with these funds must be located in communities of less than 20,000 people or in rural areas.

To be eligible for a repair loan, the family applying must own and live in the home to be repaired, lack personal resources to pay for needed repairs, have a good credit history, limited assets and have repayment ability.

To qualify for assistance household income must fall under income limits for the county and household size. For most counties, a one-person household must have an adjusted income of $20,950 or less, and a two-person household must have an adjusted income of $23,950 or less. Limits increase for larger household sizes.

Along with loans and grants to repair homes, USDA Rural Development has two low-interest, no-down-payment loan programs to help eligible families purchase new homes.

In most cases a family of four with an adjusted annual income of up to $74,050 may qualify for the agency’s guaranteed home loan program. If that same family of four’s adjusted annual income is less than $47,850 they may also qualify for a direct loan from the agency. These income limits increase in communities located near metro areas.

Homes can be existing or new construction. Existing homes must be structurally sound. Also, the property cannot have any income-producing outbuildings.

“Each year USDA Rural Development invests more than $200 million in loans and grants that provide rural Iowa residents with decent, safe and sanitary housing,” Menner said. “It’s through housing programs like this one that we work to ensure that as many rural Iowans as possible have access to adequate housing.”

Residents in Des Moines, Henry, Jefferson, Keokuk, Lee, Louisa, Muscatine, Van Buren and Washington counties are served by the USDA Rural Development office in Mount Pleasant. For more information, call 319-986-5800 ext. 4 or visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/ia.

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