Fri January 20, 2012
USDA cuts housing offices in US, Utah is OK
USDA is closing 43 offices throughout US that helps rural Americans get affordable mortgages.
This is a great concern in Utah, although no offices in Utah will be closed. The program in Utah that deals with self help housing is called Neighborhood Nonprofit Housing Association.
"We don't have many offices in Utah, and the ones we do have cover a wide area," said Kim Datwyler, executive director
Utah offices for NNHA cover from Provo and Vernal north, she said.
Datwyler said the cuts will probably help save money, but doesn't believe closing offices around the country is a good sign.
"USDA is at risk of more closures, they had a huge number of early retirement individuals, so the offices now have a reduced staff doing almost the same amount of work," she said.
In the coming year, the cuts will impact families sooner than it formerly would have.
"By about mid-July we'll run out of money for families who want to participate," but now is the time to get involved, Datwyler said.
To find out more information, she said, families can visit NNHC.net or calling the office at 435-753-1112 or by visiting the office.
The program uses federal funding, so anyone who meets the income requirements, and doesn't have too much debt can apply for the grant.
"It's the ideal time for families wanting to do it this year," Datwyler said. "I know it's not a good time to be out there building, but this is the time to come in and get the paperwork done."
She also said families seem to have a sense of more hope that the economy that has turned the corner. Last year the group had families who didn't want to go forward with building homes because of job insecurities, and they've seen a change.
"People are excited, we have 10-12 families, we expect to build 25-30 homes this year," Datwyler said. "We're talking with USDA national office about future of Utah, talking to legislators, while still providing the services that are affective uses of federal dollars."