USDA announces housing program deadlines

USDA announces housing program deadlines Lynn D. Jensen, state director for USDA Rural Development announces this week that March 27 is the application deadline for two Rural Housing Service programs; the Housing Preservation Grant Program and the Farm Labor Housing Loan and Grant Program. Jensen said his agency continues to receive applications and proposals, while they operate under a Congressional Continuing Resolution, as appropriation legislation has not been concluded.

Roger Hazuka, Rural Housing Program director, added that another housing loan guarantee program, (538 Guaranteed Rural Rental Housing Program), designed to develop affordable rental housing through guarantees of local lender loans is also available on an ongoing basis, subject to available funding. According to Hazuka, a Dec. 27, 2002 Federal Register details all three programs and encourages applications and proposals.

"Each year we work with local lenders, organizations and others to create additional affordable housing," said Jensen. He continued, "Through our housing partners our successes in providing repair and rehabilitation to homes and rental housing for very-low and low-income persons, has been good." The Housing Preservation Grant Program is designed for public agencies, non-profits and other eligible entities that support repair and rehab of low-income properties across South Dakota.

The Farm Labor Housing Loan and Grant Program provides funds for construction, acquisition and rehabilitation of off-farm units for farm-worker households. Jensen said that while this program is under-utilized in South Dakota, compared to states with migrant farm-workers, there might be emerging situations where value-added production farm-workers are, or will be in, need of special housing.

Applicants and interested parties should refer to the Federal Register and contact their nearest Development office. In southeastern South Dakota offices are located in Vermillion, Sioux Falls and Yankton.

USDA Rural Development is the lead federal entity for rural economic and community development needs.

It administers financial and technical assistance through a network of state Rural Development offices, various non-profit and educational institutional partners, and its national office. Rural Development provides access to a range of financial and intellectual tools (including technical and educational assistance, loans, loan guarantees, and grants) through the Rural Business-Cooperative Service, Rural Housing Service, Rural Utilities Service and the Office of Community Development. Further information on USDA Rural Development can be obtained by contacting your local USDA Service Center or by visiting USDA's Web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov.

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