USDA News Release | June 24,2013

Milford, Del – Abraham Lincoln, creator of the United States Department of Agriculture, was known for being self-reliant. So, it is fitting that with support from USDA, prospective homeowners in Milford are building their own homes.

“Today, we are literally helping families achieve the dream of homeownership as we work side-by-side with them to build their homes,” said David Sandretti, the national spokesperson for USDA Rural Development. “Homeownership remains at the forefront of strengthening our economy, and today’s event is evidence that our current economic recovery is gaining steam.”

USDA and the Milford Housing Development Corporation (MHDC) are helping families build their own homes through the Self-Help Housing Program. For 35 years, MHDC has been a partner with USDA providing affordable housing opportunities to the people of rural Delaware. The Self-Help Housing Program requires prospective homeowners to provide 65% of the labor required to construct the homes under the supervision of MHDC’s construction team. Participants go through credit and homeownership counseling, plus extensive pre-construction training where they are taught jobsite responsibilities and tool use and safety. Participants work evenings and weekends in groups of five or more households in order to mutually build each other’s homes. No one may move in until all homes within the group are complete and inspected.

The event in Milford is one of many USDA Rural Development has held throughout the country in recognition of National Homeownership Month. USDA holds events every year in June to highlight how USDA housing programs help families and rural communities across the country. This year’s Homeownership Month theme – USDA: Bringing Rural America Home – is centered on USDA’s commitment to creating the opportunity for Americans to live in rural areas and enjoy quality services.

Since the beginning of this fiscal year in Delaware, USDA Rural Development has assisted 572 individuals and families become homeowners.

President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities.

USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has a portfolio of programs designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.

USDA has made a concerted effort to deliver results for the American people, even as USDA implements sequestration – the across-the-board budget reductions mandated under terms of the Budget Control Act. USDA has already undertaken historic efforts since 2009 to save more than $828 million in taxpayer funds through targeted, common-sense budget reductions. These reductions have put USDA in a better position to carry out its mission, while implementing sequester budget reductions in a fair manner that causes as little disruption as possible.

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