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May is Older Americans Month: USDA Home Repair Loans and Grants Available

LINCOLN, NEB., May 8, 2017 — May has been declared “Older Americans Month” to recognize and show appreciation to our Nation’s older citizens. Older Americans have provided a lifetime of contributions to their communities.

Older adults are a growing and vital part of our country. The baby boom generation is now between the ages of 53 and 71. As they grow older, they may need services to allow them to retire, live with dignity and respect and enjoy new opportunities.

To ensure decent, safe and affordable housing remains available, USDA Rural Development can provide assistance through home repair loans and grants to remove health and safety hazards or make a home accessible for household members. Funds can be used to repair or replace furnaces, appliances, electrical, foundations, siding, roofing, windows, plumbing, wells, septic systems, and other health and safety hazards. Loans are available up to $20,000 at a one percent fixed interest rate for up to 20 years. Seniors age 62 and older, who cannot qualify for a loan, may be eligible for a grant of up to $7,500, or a loan and grant combination to make needed repairs and improvements.

Program eligibility is based on household income that cannot exceed 50% of the area median income and the property must be located in rural communities. All communities in Nebraska are eligible for housing programs with the exceptions of Fremont, Grand Island, Hastings, Kearney, Lincoln, North Platte, Omaha and South Sioux City/Dakota City. See http://eligibility.sc.egov.usda.gov/eligibility/welcomeAction.do for eligible areas to determine if you are within the established income limit based on the size of household and county and if the property is located within an eligible area.

For example, Yvonne, an 85 year old single female in Scottsbluff, NE, was living in the home that she has owned for more than 30 years. When the nights started to get chilly she called the gas company to light her furnace and was shocked when it was “red tagged” for a defective heat exchanger. What to do? Her sister was visiting from out of town and heard about the USDA Rural Development Single Family Housing Home Repair program. Rural Development was able to assist with a $6,858 grant to install a new furnace along with needed electrical updates. When the December winds hit and it was minus 19 degrees outside, Yvonne and her little dog, Buttons, were safe and warm in their home.

Visit http://www.rd.usda.gov/ne and click on the link for “Single Family Housing Repair Loans and Grants” under Key Feature Programs for more information and a list of contact information.

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