Partnerships Make Success Stories

USDA Rural Development, Elkhorn Valley Bank and NeighborWorks Spotlighted Two Families That Now Have a Home of Their Own

News Release from USDA

NORFOLK, NEB.  July 11, 2017 — USDA Rural Development celebrated Homeownership Month in June by recognizing Elkhorn Valley Bank and NeighborWorks for their contributions to homeownership that resulted in a first time home purchase for Wyatt Reynolds.  USDA Rural Development and NeighborWorks celebrated the Andrew Bennett family becoming first time homeowners. Both shared the success of their programs in partnership with USDA Rural Development at the public meeting held in Norfolk, Nebraska on June 21, 2017.

USDA Rural Development has approximately $120 million available in Nebraska to assist with meeting the housing needs in rural communities.

Elkhorn Valley Bank was instrumental in Wyatt Reynolds buying a home. At 21 years of age, Wyatt learned he was going to become a father. Wyatt wanted a home where he could raise his son and be a proud homeowner.  Wyatt contacted Kayla Strathman at Elkhorn Valley Bank, who as his loan officer, advised him that the best loan option for the home he was looking at would be a USDA Rural Development Guaranteed (USDA)/Nebraska Investment Finance Authority (NIFA) loan.  This loan provided Wyatt the opportunity to buy a home in Norfolk with no down payment.

Wyatt’s house was a fixer upper.  In stepped NeighborWorks, which is a program that assists homeowners with interest free down payment assistance to complete a home renovation if they met certain criteria which Wyatt did. With the help of his family and friends, Wyatt was able to complete a major renovation on the entire main floor of the home including new flooring, kitchen, roof, windows, as well as other items. Though the work was tiresome and took longer than he thought, the completed renovation was worth all the time and effort.

Elkhorn Valley has been the top GRH lender in Madison County during the last five years with 81 loans using the GRH program.  In the last five years USDA Single Family Housing programs have assisted 320 families to achieve homeownership or make repairs for existing homeowners totaling over $30.9 million in Madison County.

Andrew Bennett and his wife, Christianna moved their family of six to Plainview, Nebraska, a community of just more than 1200 population.  The family had been renting. When Andrew changed jobs and began driving truck they had the flexibility to move closer to family so the grandparents could enjoy the grandchildren.  It was then that the Bennetts’ decided to become homeowners.
Just short of his 28th birthday, Andrew bought his first home using a USDA loan provided directly by Rural Development.  He also worked with the NeighborWorks Northeast Nebraska down payment assistance program.  Andrew found a house built in 1900 that accommodated his family.  They have many plans and dreams for the home and have already been working on move in fixes.  The first item added was the new fence for the children.
The Bennett’s oldest child will be entering Kindergarten at the Plainview School in the fall.  The other children will follow in years to come.  Small town Nebraska communities benefit from the addition and retention of young families.  Homeownership is a key factor to accomplish this.
Expanding and preserving homeownership is an important foundation to the economy and provides stability in rural communities. Available housing is important in supporting employers in the community, provides a place “where jobs sleep” and allows families to live and raise their families in communities where they work.  
USDA Rural Development offers programs that offer up to 100% financing for a home purchase.  Financing is available with interest rates at 3.25% and below, and households may qualify for rates as low as 1%.  
These affordable rates with no or a low down payment makes homeownership affordable and may be less than rent.  Low interest rate loans at 1% are also available for home repairs for existing homeowners for very low income households.  Grants are available for elderly households 62 years of age or older for home repairs that are unable to repay a loan.

Posted on: Jul 12, 2017 - 12:00 PM
Last modified on: Jul 12, 2017 - 12:01 PM

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