U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development has funding available for very low- and low-income individuals and families seeking to purchase or repair a home in a rural area.

The USDA's Direct Home Loan Program offers financing to qualified very-low and low-income applicants who are unable to qualify for traditional financing. No down payment is required, and the interest rate could be as low as 1% with a subsidy. Applicants must meet income and credit guidelines and demonstrate repayment ability. Generally, rural areas with a population less than 35,000 are eligible.

The maximum loan amount for repair is $20,000 at a 1% interest rate, repayable for up to 20 years. Grants of up to $7,500 are available to homeowners 62 and older and must be used to remove health or safety hazards, such as fixing a leaking roof, installing indoor plumbing, or replacing a furnace.

Those interested may contact a USDA Rural Development employee in their local area to see if they qualify. For more information, visit USDA's website at www.rd.usda.gov/mn.