USDA helping families find homes - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

USDA helping families find homes

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MADISON (WKOW) -- When you think of the USDA a home loan isn’t usually the first thing to come to mind. But the USDA’s Rural Development program has been around for years and is helping Wisconsinites find homes.

Jennifer Lease, a single mom of two boys, never thought she’d have a place to call her own.

With a little luck and the help of the USDA’s Rural Development program, anything is possible.

"My house payment is the same as what I was paying for rent so it's not out of reach," Lease said.

Kevin Tuttle, Public Information Coordinator for the USDA said their programs aren’t typical of other lenders.

"Our housing programs get people into homes who normally couldn't get conventional financing either. We assist them in bettering their credit and work with them to make sure they can get into our homes," Tuttle explained.

The program did exactly that for the Lease family. They have been living in their two-story, three-bedroom home for almost a year now. Lease began the application in April, 2013 and by July that same year, they were all moved in.

The Lease’s place is just one of many that are available to lower income families.

"There aren't specific requirements for the home either. It can be, as you see in this house here, it's a beautiful home, it doesn't have to be a run of the mill type of place," Tuttle said.

Houses are available in rural areas outside of Madison with populations of 20,000 or less. To qualify for the program, the applicant must make less than 80 percent of the county median income.

Penny Coogan, Rural Development program specialist said they also team up with outside assistance.

"We also work with non profits in the area that can provide down payment assistance that can lower their monthly mortgage payment."

Coogan said if you are interested in a Rural Development loan, the best way to get started is to contact her. She can be reached at (608) 935-2791 ext. 4

A once seemingly impossible dream is now a reality for the Lease family. Now this single mom has the chance to show her boys what hard work can do.

“I've always had a job if not two, you know, and I feel like it’s paid off," Lease said.

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