This week Fahe hosted a convening aimed to steer more rural families toward the path of homeownership. USDA staff facilitated a conversation with organizations from around the US to address challenges and identify solutions for increasing the number of families who obtain homes through the USDA 502 Direct program.
USDA Acting Administrator Curtis Anderson noted that the 502 Direct program is a prime example of partnership and innovation. “Fahe has a lot of good experience in this area already which is why we are here from the national office,” he said. “This partnership is what matters, and we hope it reaches out to other states.”
Anderson emphasized how the public-private partnership between USDA and non-profit partners around the country is key in moving funds allocated for 502 Direct loans. USDA highlighted their goal of having 30% of loans submitted be from certified packaging partners.
“The 502 program is the future,” noted USDA Acting Deputy Administrator Cathy Glover, “this may be the only way we can reach low and very low-income families who need our service.”
USDA relies on intermediaries like Fahe and the organizations from several states who gathered at our office for a peer-to-peer convening. We hosted Little Dixie Community Action Agency, Northwest Regional Housing Authority, NeighborWorks Montana, and NeighborWorks Southern New Hampshire. Many of these attendees met each other, and USDA staff, for the first time. The key emphasis was that each partner has an equal voice, and that it takes every voice at the table to ensure families reach the dream of homeownership.
“We want to get all our funds allocated, so everybody gets access to homeownership, and you’re the best partner we’ve found to meet that goal,” Administrator Anderson said of the Intermediaries gathered at Fahe for the two-day convening.
KY State Housing Director Hilda Legg and Single-Family Program Director Blaine Barnes also participated in the discussion around how to maximize the impact of the 502 Direct program.
USDA Acting Director of Single-Family Housing Don Harris noted how important it is for state offices to learn from partners in other states. “I really appreciate the model we have here in Fahe and in Kentucky,” Harris said.
Funding from the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation made the gathering possible. Their support has allowed Fahe to deepen our collaboration and advocacy for 502 Direct at a national level.