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USDA Helps People Realize the American Dream In Washington State

Two USDA office's are working together to highlight how USDA's programs are being utilized by nonprofits, secular and faith-based, to assist low and very low income individuals become homeowners.

Becoming a homeowner for the first time is a big deal, especially for Brittany Meyer, who received the keys to her new home last month during a special ceremony.  Up until that one moment in time, she never believed she would share the American Dream of homeownership.

But on June 27, 2010, her dream became a reality thanks to Habitat for Humanity of Mason County, which has been helping people in Washington State become homeowners for many years.

Now for the first time, our office, in conjunction with USDA Rural Development is able to partner with this wonderful faith-based organization to increase their capacity so they can help even more people.

This partnership not only involves Habitat and Rural Development, but also brings in other resources such as the homeowner providing labor, community members volunteering, and local businesses and churches providing resources to help the homeowner be successful.

According to Tammy Repine, USDA Rural Development’s Housing Program Director in Washington State, the agency  had been in discussions with the Washington State Habitat coordinator about a partnership for many years, basing a proposal to work together on a “continuum of services approach.”  Habitat would help the families in greatest need (who don’t qualify for any loan) and then Rural Development would use the Rural Home Loan Partnership (RHLP) program to jointly finance transactions for families who could qualify for some Rural Development loan, but not all.  Then for those families who could qualify for all of the loan, Habitat would package those to Rural Development.

“This approach is a win-win for everyone,” Tammy said.  “This is an exciting partnership that blends federal, non-profit, faith-based, and community efforts.”

USDA Habitat for Humanity

Brittany Meyer and daughter Lexi stand outside their new Mason County Home in Washington State. A unique part of this project is that the home is built "green" and received a 5 star rating for energy standards.

Gayle Hoskison is Olympia Area Director for Washington State USDA Rural Development