Fahe, USDA, and WV Housing Development Fund Expand Access to Housing for Low-income Families

Advocacy Appalchia Housing | June 27, 2016

USDA RD Director Tony Hernandez presenting an award to Laura Meadows of Fahe.

Fahe, USDA, and WV Housing Development Fund Expand Access to Housing for Low-income Families

The Fund has joined with Fahe and USDA to become the only state housing agency to offer the USDA 502 Direct Home Loan

Charleston WV – On June 23, 2016, an important step forward was made for families in West Virginia when the West Virginia Housing Development Fund (WVHDF) joined with Fahe and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to become the first state housing agency in the country to offer the USDA 502 Direct loan.  The partnership will provide tremendous impact in allowing all three organizations help low-income families realize their dream of homeownership across West Virginia.

To celebrate this momentous occasion, a ceremony was held at the WVHDF office in Charleston, WV.  Staff from the Fund, USDA Rural Development, and Fahe was in attendance.  Speakers included Erica Boggess, Acting Executive Director of WVHDF;  Jim King, CEO and President of Fahe; Bobby Lewis, USDA West Virginia State Director; and representatives for key government officials read letters from their respective offices.  Mary Elisabeth Eckerson read on behalf of Senator Shelly Moore-Capito, Sara Payne Scarbo for Senator Joe Manchin, Payne Warner for Congressman Alex Mooney, and Brian Aluise for West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin.  The keynote speaker was Tony Hernandez, the USDA Administrator of Rural Housing Service.

The USDA 502 Direct Home Loan Program assists low- and very-low-income applicants obtain decent, safe, and sanitary housing in eligible rural areas by providing payment assistance to increase an applicant’s repayment ability. Payment assistance is a type of subsidy that reduces the mortgage payment for a short time. The amount of assistance is determined by the adjusted family income. In the past, cutbacks to staffing in USDA RD limited the delivery of the program which resulted in less families being served and dramatic increase in closing times.

In 2009, Fahe, along with national partners, worked to establish a Pilot with USDA Rural Housing Service, creating a nonprofit loan packaging system that significantly improved the delivery of 502 Direct mortgages for rural families across the nation. This innovative Pilot became a permanent program in May, 2016.

“This is a great initiative and we are proud to partner with the USDA and Fahe,” said Erica Boggess, the Fund’s Acting Executive Director.  “By partnering with USDA and Fahe we are providing home ownership opportunities that promote prosperity which in turns creates brighter communities and improves the quality of life in rural West Virginia.”

During the ceremony, Mr. Hernandez expressed his gratitude towards the Fund for lending their reputation and expertise to the 502 Direct Program.  He also presented Fahe with an award recognizing the organization as a Champion of Rural Housing for their achievements and impact on the Program.

“USDA Rural Development has helped more than 1 million rural residents buy homes since the start of the Obama administration,” Hernandez said.  “Partners like West Virginia Housing Development Fund and Fahe have made this achievement possible, and we are very excited to create even more opportunities for rural America in the future.  We are building communities together in West Virginia and beyond.”

“We couldn’t be happier with the way our Partnership with USDA has benefited the people of the region,” said Jim King. “In the six years of the Partnership, we have place over 807 families in new homes utilizing the 502 Direct Program.  This new collaboration with our long standing partners at the Fund will allow us to capitalize on that momentum to empower families in West Virginia to make a better life for themselves.”

Partnerships like the one with WVHDF are important because they increase the reach and scope of the 502 Direct Program to remove many of the barriers to homeownership.  These partnerships allow hardworking citizens who cannot afford homeownership on their own to achieve the American dream.

“Our lives have always been centered on home and family; therefore few things are as important as building strong communities through quality and affordable housing,” said Governor Tomblin.  “Every West Virginian deserves the security of a comfortable home, and this program will help low income residents and families obtain safe and clean housing.  Let me take this opportunity to commend everyone who made this partnership possible.  I have no doubt this extraordinary partnership will continue to bring positive change to the Mountain State.  Thank you to your commitment to a better West Virginia.”

More information about the 502 Direct Packaging Program through Fahe can be obtained by contacting Tom Carew, Fahe’s Executive Vice President for Advocacy at tomC@fahe.org or by calling 859.986.2321. For more information about WVHDF or how they can help you obtain a 502 Direct Loan in WV, contact the Fund directly by calling 1.800.931.8511 or visit their website at www.wvhdf.com .

About Fahe

Fahe is on a mission to eliminate persistent poverty in Appalachia. Our unique collaborative model connects a Network of local, reginal, and national leaders, all working together to uplift our nation’s rural places.

Through our Network of 50+ locally-rooted nonprofits, we have guided over 300,000 families to better lives, made over $469 million in direct investments to the region, and achieved a total cumulative financial impact of over$1.15 billion. fahe.org.

About the West Virginia Housing Development Fund

The West Virginia Housing Development Fund is a public body corporate and governmental instrumentality of the state of West Virginia established to increase the supply of residential housing for persons and families of low and moderate income, and to provide construction and permanent mortgage financing to public and private sponsors of such housing. To date, the Housing Development Fund has issued more than $4.3 billion in bonds and has financed more than 118,000 housing units since it began operation in 1969.  The West Virginia Housing Development Fund is an Equal Housing Opportunity Lender.