LYONS – Home ownership remains out of reach for many hardworking Nebraska families due to low wages and lack of access to traditional mortgages.
Kim Preston, director of the Rural Enterprise Assistance Project at the Center for Rural Affairs, said the new loan program aims to provide minority communities and low- and middle-income families with an alternative path to buying or renovating a home.
Preston stressed that many people say they want to move to small communities to start a family or return their families to where they grew up.
“Home ownership is often an obstacle,” Preston said. “There is no housing supply, the housing stock may need rehabilitation or gentle care. Or banks are not able to help with this small dollar product, and this is the niche that we are trying to fill. “
In Nebraska, the proportion of homeowners among Hispanics is 42%, compared with 70% for non-Hispanic whites.
The program offers loans ranging from $ 5,000 to $ 100,000 to buy a home or to help homeowners with property refurbishment or emergency repairs.
Preston stressed that rural areas tend to have fewer quality housing options than urban areas. Small towns have lower vacancy rates, aging housing stock and insufficient new housing construction. She added that adequate and affordable housing is a quality of life issue, and home ownership helps support local schools.
“And it also plays an important role in the economic development of this community,” Preston said. “If the community does not have local housing, it can really hinder successful business start-ups as well as business growth strategies.”
Preston stressed that the larger goal as a community lender is to create an economy that works for all who call rural America their home.
Applicants will not be required to make a down payment, but Preston noted that people who can contribute money may be eligible for preferential interest rates.