CHARLESTON — The West Virginia Housing Development Fund is excited to announce an initiative that aims to help our state's low-income residents turn their dreams of homeownership into a reality. Through a memorandum of understanding with Fahe, a Kentucky-based organization on a mission to eliminate persistent poverty in Appalachia, and the United States Department of Agriculture, we are now the country's only state housing finance agency to offer the United States' Department of Agriculture's Section 502 Direct Loan Program.
This program helps 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. This payment assistance is a type of subsidy that reduces the mortgage payment. The amount of assistance is determined by the adjusted family income.
"This is a great initiative, and we are proud to partner with the USDA and Fahe," said Erica Boggess, the fund's executive director. "For so many in our state, homeownership is out of reach. They work hard and save, but there are just too many barriers. The 502 Direct Loan Program opens up new opportunities and gives them a real, lasting shot at achieving a crucial part of the American dream."
The 502 Direct Loan Program has existed in West Virginia for many years, but because of cutbacks at the federal level and/or lack of access, production has dropped, and the USDA has allocated those resources to other states, Boggess said.
"Now that individuals and families can contact the fund directly and work with our staff to complete the application, we are confident more West Virginians will be able to use this program," Boggess said.
She added that partnering with other agencies will be key to making the program efficient and accessible.
"We couldn't be happier with the way our partnership with USDA has benefitted the people of the region," said Jim King, Fahe's CEO and president. "In the six years of the partnership, we have placed more than 700 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."
Speaking about the partnership, USDA Rural Development State Director Kris Warner said, "We appreciate the opportunity to partner with the WV Housing Development Fund and FAHE to promote the USDA 502 Direct Loan Program. Homeownership is a dream for many people in the Mountain State, and this program provides a way to make that dream become a reality."
He added, "Our alliance with the WV Housing Development Fund and FAHE is truly a partnership to promote prosperity for rural West Virginians. By working collaboratively together, we can better serve the residents who can benefit most from our programs."
A number of factors are considered when determining an applicant's eligibility for this loan. At a minimum, applicants interested in obtaining a direct loan must have an adjusted income that is at or below the applicable low-income limit for the area where they wish to buy a house and they must demonstrate a willingness and ability to repay debt.
For more information about the 502 Program, you are encouraged to call the fund directly at 800-931-8511 or visit www.wvhdf.com.
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.