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Low-interest home repair loans available

PRiNCETON — U.S. Rural Development is making low-interest home repair loans available to eligible, low-income homeowners following the April 17-18 heavy rains and flooding.

On Friday, Illinois Rural Development Director Colleen Callahan announced the available funds and gave stipulations for the loans. The Rural Development program is a part of the US Department of Agriculture.

Callahan said the loan limit for an individual applicant is $20,000. The loans have a 1 percent interest rate and may be repaid over a period of up to 20 years. The Rural Development loan program allows the homeowner to make multiple repairs and keep payments affordable, she said.

“We are concerned that homeowners in many Illinois counties have had damage to homes as the result of flooding,” Callahan said. “As water recedes and the threatening conditions pass, we encourage homeowners needing financial help with repairs to give us a call.”

In a statement issued Friday, Callahan said funds can be used for a wide range of home repairs when losses are not covered by hazard or flood insurance or when Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance is not available, including plumbing, electrical, flooring and foundation problems. Funding can also be used for repairs or replacement of damaged heating and air conditioning systems, roofs, windows and siding, she said.

Loan applicants must own and occupy the home, be able to repay the loan and have an acceptable credit history.

Also, grants may be available to homeowners 62 years or older with very low income and without the ability to repay a loan Callahan said. Grant funds are limited but may be used to remove health and safety hazards or make the home accessible, she said.

Loan applications and more information on Rural Development programs are available through the local USDA office, located at 312 E. Backbone Road in Princeton, or by calling 815-875-8732, Ext. 4. The local office covers Bureau, Putnam, Marshall, Stark, Henry, Mercer, and Rock Island counties.

Bureau County was one of 49 Illinois counties declared state disaster areas after the April 17-18 heavy rains and flooding that hit the Midwest.

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