Antelope County residents learned about opportunities for low interest housing loans at a meeting last week.
The USDA Rural Development was on hand to answer questions at the town hall meeting held at the Neligh Senior Center, hosted by the Neligh Economic Development office.
Because Neligh is one of a handful of communities in the running for a $350,000 grant to revitalize its downtown area, the community was required to provide information to the community on fair housing. The City of Neligh took advantage of that meeting to also offer information on low-interest loan opportunities.
The meeting focused on opportunities available for families and individuals to achieve the dream of homeownership. Michael Buethe, USDA single family housing program director said the USDA offers over 40 programs to rural communities, including many housing opportunities.
"If something in community you need assistance with, it might be something the USDA can assist with,” he said. “What we do is we provide loans and grants to intermediaries and they provide grants to the consumer.”
Krista Mettscher, single family housing specialist with the USDA, said expanding and preserving homeownership is an important foundation to the economy and provides stability in rural communities. Available housing is important in supporting employers in the community, provides a place “where jobs sleep” and allows families to live and raise their families in communities where they work.
State and federal partners, community officials, lenders, realtors, major employers, home builders and other housing partners will convene for the meeting. Families that are interested in living in rural communities and owning their own home or existing home owners that need assistance with home repairs should plan to attend.
Mettscher discussed programs that offer up to 100 percent financing for a home purchase. Financing is available with interest rates at 3 percent and below, and households may qualify for rates as low as 1 percent.
She told those in attendance that these affordable rates with no or a low down payment makes home ownership affordable and may be less than rent. Low interest rate loans at 1 percent are also available for home repairs for existing home-owners for very low income household. Grants are available for elderly households 62 years of age or older for home repairs that are unable to repay a loan.