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USDA offers low interest home repair loans

CHAMPAIGN — Help is available for homeowners who have suffered damages due to the recent flooding that have limited resources with which to make repairs. USDA Rural Development can make 1 percent home repair loans to eligible homeowners with modest incomes.

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

Funds can be used for a wide range of home repairs when losses are not covered by hazard or flood insurance or when FEMA 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.

The loan limit for an individual applicant is $20,000. Loans have a 1 percent interest rate and can be repaid over a period of up to 20 years. The program allows the homeowner to make multiple repairs and keep payments affordable. For example, a loan of $5,000 over 20 years would cost the homeowner only $23 per month.

Homeowners with very-low income, based on the county in which they live, can apply. For example, a two member household in Bureau County with an adjusted gross income up to $23,550 would be eligible. A family of four with household income up to $29,400 would also be eligible. Applicants must own and occupy the home, be able to repay the loan and have an acceptable credit history. Repair loan funds are available in all rural counties regardless of the FEMA designation.

Grants may be available to homeowners 62 or older with very low income and without the ability to repay a loan. Grant funds are limited but may be used to remove health and safety hazards or make the home accessible. Grants have a life-time limit of $7,500. These grants are often combined with loans to increase the amount available for repairs. For further information and a map of office locations, visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/il.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has a portfolio of programs designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.

USDA has made a concerted effort to deliver results for the American people, even as USDA implements sequestration – the across-the-board budget reductions mandated under terms of the Budget Control Act. USDA has already undertaken historic efforts since 2009 to save more than $828 million in taxpayer funds through targeted, common-sense budget reductions. These reductions have put USDA in a better position to carry out its mission, while implementing sequester budget reductions in a fair manner that causes as little disruption as possible.

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