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Serving: IN

USDA's Rural Development Player in Flood Relief

Qualifications on income determine who qualifies for programs.

USDA Rural Development's Housing Programs could be the answer for a limited number of rural residents who have lost big-time due to recent flooding. Some may qualify for financial assistance. USDA Rural Development may be able to provide a loan that helps people get back into affordable, safe, sanitary housing.

Robert White, a friend to agriculture, heads up the agency in Indiana. "Rural Development can quickly respond to housing issues related to flooding, tornadoes, or other severe weather conditions," he says. Funding for the agency is reliable and steady, he notes, making it a good choice for those who might qualify.

The interest rate can be as slow as 1%, and Rural Development also cooperates to make monthly repayment affordable, White notes. The catch in this situation might be qualifying for the help. There are strict limits on how much income a couple can make and still qualify for this aid. For example, for a family of two, the limit is between $21,100 and $26, 500 per year. That's a pretty low floor for many rural residents to slip under.

Those who do qualify and participate in the program will also be required to have flood insurance if loans are made on property in special flood hazard areas, he notes. Even if you don't think you would qualify for this program, White urges you to call your local office. "We have a number of other loan programs that might meet their particular need," he says.

Rural Development has been instrumental in helping many rural communities in Indiana either get hospitals or water systems for the first time, or upgrade or repair systems. The Agency is only allowed to operate with these programs in counties that meet certain denotations as rural counties however. And while the Agency often works with towns or entities related to towns, the current disaster makes it clear that it can also assist individuals in dire situations.

You can learn more at www.rurdev.usda.gov. Offices for the agency in Indiana include one sin Columbia City, Albion, Decatur, Lafayette, LaPorte, Plymouth, North Vernon, Bloomfield, Bedford, Bloomington, Boonville, Covington, Jasper and Muncie. Each office covers a designated number of counties. Check the Website for information on how to contact the office nearest to you.

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