Herald Journal Herald and Journal, March 11, 2002

Money still available for low-interest financing

By Lynda Jensen

Several thousand dollars of unused low-interest financing is still available to residents in McLeod, Carver, and Wright counties.

Normally at this time of year, the funds have been tapped by now, but for whatever reason, there is leftover sums, said Gladys Swick of the US Department of Agriculture.

There is no time limit or cycle to the distribution of funds, although it is given out until it's gone, Swick said.

Several guidelines apply to all of the loans and grants. A partial summary is below.

For additional information, including additional requirements, or an application, contact the Buffalo USDA office at (763) 682-1151.

The loans and grants include the following:

Home improvement loans for families, and grants for seniors (called the 504 program).

This program offers two different components for home improvements, a loan for very low income families, and grants for senior citizens 62 and older.

Very low income is defined as making less than $37,350 for a family of four (other guidelines are available through the USDA office).

This program encompasses low-interest loans for home improvements, as well as grants for essential repairs needed by seniors. Other stipulations include:

· loans bear a one percent interest rate, for up to 20 years.

· the maximum loan per family is $20,000, and grant per family is $7,500.

· a mortgage is required for loans in excess of $2,500.

· the funds may be used along with funds from other private or public sources.

· other requirements apply. For an application, contact the USDA office at the Buffalo office.

Affordable home loans for low-income families (called the 502 loan).

This program is designed to help low-income families obtain a home.

Income guidelines apply, since the loan is designed for those with less than $52,500 income per year for a family of four (other guidelines are available through the USDA office).

Preference is given to those applicants who attended a home buyer education program, which is offered monthly through a program called Home Stretch.

For information about Wright County, contact Shirley Legatt at Wright County Community Action out of Maple Lake, (320) 963-6500.

McLeod residents may contact Lisa Hill or Janet Vacek at the Heartland Community Action Agency at (320) 235-0850.

Carver residents may call the Carver County HRA at (952) 448-7715

Preference is also given to applicants who obtain their credit needs from another lender.

The loan program applies to first time buyers in addition to people who already own a home, although this home must be in need of repair or not be adequate.

· the interest rate is fixed for the life of the loan.

· mortgages are for 30 to 38 years.

· loans may be used as a down payment to obtain financing through another lender.

· monthly payments may be reduced by payment assistance.

· other requirements apply. For an application, contact the USDA office at the number above.

Guaranteed housing loans for moderate income families.

This program is different than the other loan programs, since the loan originates from a bank, and USDA simply guarantees, or underwrites, the loan, Swick said.

Income guidelines requires families with income of less than $58,000 for a family of four.

· the loans bear a fixed rate agreed upon by the lender and borrower.

· mortgages are for 30 years.

· the borrower is responsible for paying origination fees and closing costs.

· a one-time guarantee fee equal to two percent of the loan amount is charged to the lender, but may be passed on to the loan applicant.

· other requirements apply. For an application, contact the USDA office at the number above.


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