USDA house loan helps Natchez man ‘change his life’

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 21, 2004

NATCHEZ &045; In March, Louis King moved into his new home after receiving a little help from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Rural Development.

King, 59, became qualified under a direct loan program with the USDA allowing him to build a new home where his trailer used to be.

King previously lived in a trailer behind where his now home is now. The trailer had a heating unit but no air conditioning. King said the house also leaked frequently.

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&uot;It’s a lot different than the trailer,&uot; King said.

Mike Blackwell, community development manager with the Natchez branch of Rural Development, added the house he lived in now was cooler and more energy efficient.

King lives in the house by himself but has a guest bath and bedroom in case he has company.

Johnny Jackson, a local contractor and friend of King’s, built the house in about three months.

Blackwell said that the new home has had a positive impact on King.

&uot;It’s really changed his life,&uot; Blackwell said.

Blackwell said the USDA offers three different loan housing programs for low-income households: direct loan, grant and guaranteed loan programs.

Each program requires different income limits that are based on the community’s average income levels and number of people in the family.

Families receive direct financial assistance from Rural Development with the direct loan program by receiving a loan at a low interest rate. Most of the families falling under this category have incomes that are below 80 percent of the median county or state income limit. A family of four living in Natchez with an income of $29,200 would qualify for the loan program.

Another program offers loans and grants to very low income families who own homes that are in need of repair and whose household income is at or below 50 percent of the median county or state income. This loan program provides funding, at a fixed 1 percent interest rate, for renovations or to make the house accessible to people with disabilities.

The guaranteed loan program fills a need for thousands of rural Mississippi families who have the income but lack the down payment ability. Eligibility is based on income and the number in the household.

Under this program, the loan can be used to purchase either new or existing homes and requires no down payment.

The loan offers closing costs that can be included in the loan up to the appraised value. It also has no monthly mortgage insurance premium with lower monthly payments.

The program, however, requires a 30-year term and has a fixed rate of interest.