USDA 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 Baxter office announced in a news release.

The Direct Home Loan program offers financing to qualified very-low-income 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. The program is available in rural communities of generally 35,000 people or less.

The maximum loan amount is $20,000 at a 1% interest rate, repayable for a 20-year term and can be used to improve or modernize homes and do essential repairs. 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.

Time is limited to receive funds for the current fiscal year. Contact a USDA Rural Development Housing Specialist to see if those interested qualify.

USDA Rural Development loans and grants provide assistance that supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas.

For more information, visit rd.usda.gov/mn.