June designated as national Homeownership Month

June designated as national Homeownership Month USDA Rural Development will again join in national Homeownership Month activities, according to federal officials. Lynn D. Jensen, state director for Rural Development announced that several events have been scheduled where his agency will provide assistance and funding for critical housing needs in South Dakota.

Jensen said, "Each year our agency joins a national effort to bring attention to both the needs and successes in rural housing. In South Dakota we will be awarding several designations that will further enable housing coalitions and partners in their work to provide home ownership in rural communities."

USDA will provide four Rural Home Loan Program designations in Rapid City, Aberdeen, Deadwood and Yankton, Jensen added, "We are especially pleased that we are able to help elderly and lower income people own and maintain homes."

Roger Hazuka, Rural Housing Program director in Huron added that a technical assistance grant was awarded in Deadwood to Neighborhood Housing Services on Saturday, June 1 and a Community Development Financial Institution designation will be given to a housing partner in northeastern South Dakota this week.

In Aberdeen on June 5 USDA hosted a press conference to announce awards in northeastern South Dakota. On June 6, federal officials will attend a grand opening of a multi-family complex in southeastern South Dakota where they will highlight their $250,000 loan contribution to a recently completed renovation project. Other events include public education media contributions by staff in Huron.

South Dakota Housing Authority also joins in first week homeownership activities with a Governor's Proclamation and a focus on special initiatives sponsored by the state.

In South Dakota, USDA Rural Housing Service provided over $85 million in housing and community facility funding in 2001 across South Dakota. Rural Development officials report that 960 families were assisted in the same year with housing needs.

USDA Rural Development serves as the lead federal entity for rural development needs and administers program assistance through three agencies: Rural Housing Service, Rural Business-Cooperative Service and Rural Utilities Service. Further information on USDA Rural Development can be obtained by contacting any USDA Service Center or by visiting USDA's Web site at http://www.rur dev.usda.gov/.

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