MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development office is helping rural West Virginians with buying, renting and repairing homes.
Kris Warner, the state director of Rural Development, said they’re doing so under the leadership of President Donald Trump and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. Last year the USDA spent roughly $260 million in West Virginia alone, helping 1,786 families and individuals to buy a home, Warner said. In addition, he said, USDA spent $573,705 for 94 very rural West Virginia residents that needed to repair their homes. The plan is to spend at least that much this year and to also focus on COVID-19 relief for West Virginians, Warner said.
That includes all of those of us who have been affected by COVID-19. USDA is committed to providing appropriate resources and in some situations, exemptions to help rural America recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. This helps families stay in their homes and those that are facing financial hardship.Kris Warner – State Director, USDA Rural Development
Right now, Warner said, at their multifamily housing projects, USDA has ceased all evictions for nonpayment of rent due to the coronavirus. He said he encourages the public to visit the USDA coronavirus website to find out about the many things they are doing to help people get through this rough time. Warner added that they are even helping those who already have a USDA loan to determine if there is any way they can receive additional assistance.
June is National Homeownership Month, Warner said. USDA has a homeownership loan program called their 502 Program, which offers zero percent down payment, at a 2.75 percent interest rate for the month of June. He said through the loan program, homeowners can extend their 30-year mortgages to 38 years if necessary, because they find that most people need between 33 and 38 years.
To qualify for the special June loan rate or housing loans and grants from USDA throughout the year, a family or individual must live in a town or city with a population of fewer than 35,000 people, Warner said.
In addition to the 502 Program, USDA also has the 504 Program, Warner said.
“This helps low and very low income individuals with direct loans and or grant funds for home repairs,” Warner said. “Someone can get a loan for one percent, which is a very low interest rate. They can stretch that loan out as much as one percent and if they’re over 62, they can get a grant for home repair if they’re low income, elderly home owners, again in a town or city of less than 35,000.”
There are 11 Rural Development offices all around the state, Warner said, where West Virginians can apply or find out more information. In addition, families and individuals can ask about USDA’s guaranteed loans at any bank. How the loans work is USDA guarantees the loans and therefore, makes it easier for someone to buy a home.
Warner said it excites him and the rest of his team that USDA is able to provide money to people who are much in need. He said recently, they helped a senior citizen get a loan and that shows the power of the work they are doing.
“She is 71 year of age and has never owned a home until this last month and she closed on a loan with USDA,” Warner said. “When you have somebody that’s always had the dream of purchasing their own home, they’re 71 years of age — I would recommend to anyone in your viewership area, that if a 71-year-old can apply, get a loan and purchase her own home, if that’s a dream of someone, there’s no reason they can’t accomplish it.”
Warner encourages the public to learn more through their website, calling, or other means because there is no excuse to not reach out and see what USDA can do to help.