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Agriculture Deputy Secretary Merrigan Announces USDA Has Helped 50,000 Americans Become Homeowners


Milestone Highlights How American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is Helping Families Throughout the Country

WASHINGTON.- Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan today announced that 50,000 rural families have attained the dream of becoming homeowners with the help of funding provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. These funds have been made available through a variety of programs administered by USDA Rural Development as part of President Obama’s aggressive efforts to strengthen rural communities.

“Revitalizing rural America is one of President Obama’s top priorities, and this investment is not only helping families to become homeowners, but it’s also building rural communities by putting money back into the local economy,” Merrigan said. “Home ownership is critical to increasing economic opportunity and building a rural America that will succeed in a 21st century.”

In communities across the nation, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding is having positive effects for individuals, families, communities and local economies. USDA Rural Development offers guaranteed and direct single-family home loans to eligible rural residents who are unable to secure a conventional loan. In contrast to conventional loans made by lenders such as banks and credit unions, Rural Development loans are made by USDA directly to the borrower. Down payments are not required, and payments are based on the borrower’s income.

One of the beneficiaries of the Recovery Act funding is Mallory Sanford Horn, a Mississippi elementary school teacher who received a USDA Rural Development guaranteed loan to buy a home in New Albany, Miss. Without Recovery Act funds, Horn, who had only limited cash reserves for a down payment and was unable to secure a conventional loan, would not have been able to buy this new home.

Meanwhile, in Chipley, Fla., Ranna Shelley, a single mother of two, obtained a USDA rural Development single family housing loan under Recovery Act funding to purchase her home. As a new homeowner, she will now be able to provide her family the security, stability, comfort and sense of community that homeownership affords.

Merrigan also highlighted a homeowner in Scottsdale, Ariz., who was not only one of the 50,000 families using Recovery Act funds to buy a home, but also earned the distinction as the loan beneficiary who pushed USDA Rural Development’s Single Family Housing loan obligations beyond the record-setting $10 billion mark. Ramona Fasol used Recovery Act funds to become a first-time homeowner in June. Since 1949, USDA has made more than 2.7 million homeownership opportunities available to rural citizens.

President Obama signed Recovery Act into law on Feb. 17, 2009. It is designed to jumpstart the nation’s economy, create or save millions of jobs and put a down payment on addressing long-neglected challenges so our country can thrive in the 21st century. The Act includes measures to modernize our nation’s infrastructure, enhance energy independence, expand educational opportunities, preserve and improve affordable health care, provide tax relief and protect those in greatest need.

More information about USDA’s Recovery Act efforts is available at More information about the Federal government’s efforts on the Recovery Act is available at

USDA Rural Development’s mission is to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural residents. Rural Development fosters growth in homeownership, finances business development, and supports the creation of critical community and technology infrastructure. Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA Rural Development’s web site at


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