The Daytona Beach News-Journal
June 9, 2010
Florida's rural homeowners with very low incomes and those with disabilities may qualify for a grant or low interest rate loan to repair and improve their residence. These opportunities are made available through the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development.
To qualify for a Section 504 Grant, limited to $7,500, applicants must be at least 62 years old and demonstrate the inability to repay a loan. Grant funds may only be used to remove health and safety hazards, or make a dwelling accessible to a household member with disabilities. The residence must be in a rural area.
To be eligible for the Section 504 Loan program, limited to $20,000, the residence must be located in a rural area and applicants must have very low incomes and unable to obtain affordable credit elsewhere.
Approved uses for the loan include roofing, siding, windows, insulation, storm windows and doors, foundation repairs, septic systems, furnace, air conditioning, water hookup, tap fees and removal of health and safety hazards. Loan funds may also be used to make a dwelling more accessible for household members with disabilities and repair mobile or manufactured homes on a full, below-grade foundation or on blocks or piers with skirting and anchoring tie-downs.
For a Section 504 loan, very low income is defined as 50 percent or less than the applicant's area median income. The current interest rate for the loan is 1 percent with a maximum term of 20 years. Applicants must show repayment ability based on a budget. Applicants 62 years old and older, who lack the ability to repay the entire loan amount, may be eligible for Section 504 grant funds.
For more information on the conditions and terms of the grant and loan programs, and to determine if your income and residence location qualifies you for the programs, visit rurdev.usda.gov/fl/rhssfh.htm or call the USDA Rural Development office in Ocala at 352-732-7534.