USDA offers home improvement financing for low income families

USDA Rural Development is gearing up to help local homeowners finance home improvements through low-interest loans and grants.

As fall weather is “around the corner,” now is a good time for homeowners to evaluate the need for necessary repairs. 

Rural Development’s Direct Home Repair Loan and Grant programs are designed to help eligible, very low-income seniors or households who own inadequate but repairable housing.

Qualified projects can include repairing or replacing a roof, winterizing, purchasing or repairing a heating system, structural repair, water and sewage connect fees, and similar uses.

Take it from Beverly Lawyer, a recent widow who needed help turning her summer refuge into a year-round home. “With little retirement money remaining and getting by with only one Social Security check, it was a stressful, terrifying time for me,” Lawyer said. Lawyer’s cabin needed a new roof to meet local building codes, a new furnace and work to submerge the well pipe 10 feet into the ground so it would not freeze in the winter.

With some help from the specialists at the local Rural Development office, Lawyer was approved for a  20-year loan at 1-percent interest.

“Thank you is not enough to express my appreciation and gratefulness to USDA and local area specialists,” Lawyer said. She is grateful and happy to have a safe, warm home year round. “My story is nothing less than a beautiful miracle!”

Applicants must own and occupy the home, and their income may not exceed guidelines established by county and household size. Income limits vary by county and average $ 21,600 for a one-person household and $27,150 for two-person households in southwestern Minnesota. Income limits increase for larger sized households.

For assistance in the following counties: Cottonwood, Martin, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Lyon, Lincoln, Rock and Watonwan, contact the USDA Rural Development office at 1567 N. McMillan St., Worthington, MN 56187. Or call them at (507) 372-7783, ext. 4.


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