USDA loans could help a local community

Renew Metropolis, a group aimed at getting homes built on 16 vacant properties in the city, met Thursday to discuss a new way local residents can be approved.

Sheryl Dycus spends her days with her grand kids at her home in Metropolis. She’s proud to call the city home, but wishes she could afford her own home there. She says she’s never seriously considered house shopping because “you’ve got to have the appraisal, and the closing costs, and just the interest and down payments."

That’s something Jason Hartke hopes he can change. He specializes in building rural communities by providing low interest loans for low-income families. “Every day when I come to work, that’s what we’re looking for: to be able to help that client that we’re working with,” Hartke said.

Hartke works with the rural development for the United States Department of Agriculture. He presented his 3.5 percent loan option Thursday to Renew Metropolis. The loans offer 1 percent financing and only require a credit score of 640.

Although an agreement will be made between the buyer and the city ensuring that the buyer lives at the location for a certain period of time to avoid subleasing or selling at a profit, they plan to give it over at a bargain.

Maggie Howett, vice-chair of Renew Metropolis, says if they don’t just give them away, they’ll be very cheap. “Maybe $1 or $10," she said. "We have these lots that we want to provide for low- to moderate-income families."

If you’re interested, you can reach out to the city to see if you qualify for one of the spots. Next, you’ll need to make plans with a contractor, and then you’ll need to take those plans to the USDA for approval. For more information on the loans, click here.

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