MOORHEAD - U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development State Director Brad Finstad has announced that funding is available for very low- and low-income individuals and families looking to purchase or repair a home in a rural area.

USDA's Direct Home Loan Program, available in rural communities of 20,000 people or less, offers financing to qualified applicants that are unable to qualify for traditional financing. No down payment is required and the interest rate could be as low as 1 percent with a subsidy.

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Applicants must meet income and credit guidelines, demonstrate repayment ability and take a homeownership education course through USDA.

The maximum loan amount for repair is $20,000 and can be used to improve or modernize homes and do essential repairs. Grants of $7,500 are available to homeowners 62 and older and must be used to remove health or safety hazards. Qualified applicants have until the end of September 2018 to apply.

Rural Development loans and grants provide assistance that support infrastructure and 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 www.rd.usda.gov/mn or call (651) 602-7800.