home loan program aims to boost rural economies | New
(Lyon) – Homeownership remains out of reach for many working families in Nebraska due to stagnant wages and lack of access to traditional mortgages.
Kim Preston, director of the Rural Business Assistance Project at the Center for Rural Affairs, said their new loan program aims to provide minority communities and low- and middle-income families with an alternative to buying or repairing of a house.
She pointed out that many people say they want to move to small communities, raise a family or bring their family back to where they grew up.
âOften the barrier is home ownership,â explained Preston. âThe housing supply is not there, the housing supply might need rehab or loving care. Or the banks are not able to help with this little dollar product, and this is the niche we aim to fill. “
In Nebraska, the homeownership rate for Latino residents is 42%, compared to 70% for white non-Latino residents.
The program offers loans from $ 5,000 to $ 100,000 to purchase a home or to help homeowners with renovations or emergency repairs.
Preston pointed out that rural areas tend to have fewer quality housing options available than urban communities. Small towns have lower housing vacancy rates, an aging housing stock and little new construction. She added that adequate and affordable housing is a quality of life issue, and homeownership helps support local schools.
“And it also plays an important role in the economic development of this community,” said Preston. “If a community doesn’t have local housing, it can really undermine business start-ups as well as business growth strategies.”
Preston pointed out that the larger goal, as a community lender, is to create an economy that works for everyone who lives in rural America.
Applicants will not be required to provide a down payment, but Preston noted that people who can put in the money might be eligible for reduced interest rates.