This opinion column was submitted by Lucas Ingvoldstad, Nevada State Director for Rural Development for the USDA.
Cordell and Laura Howk had lived with Laura’s mother in a two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment for seven years. While the arrangement was amicable, the time has come in early 2022 to find their own accommodation. Luckily, they qualified for the USDA Rural Development Direct Home Loan Program, and even with COVID conditions and few housing options available, purchased a home in Silver Springs.
“Looking back, it was a long process with some bumps but (I’m) glad we persevered,” Laura said. “There’s no way we would have been able to qualify for another program or a loan to buy our house.”
Traveling through rural Nevada, I’ve seen how USDA housing programs can raise entire families and make dreams come true. Over the years, USDA Rural Development has helped nearly 5 million families and individuals across the country achieve those dreams. Across the Silver State, we are working hard to extend this opportunity to everyone in our rural communities.
We know that increasing homeownership opportunities strengthens our rural communities and helps people become wealthier and achieve financial stability.
That’s why, each June, USDA Rural Development celebrates Homeownership Month by sharing success stories and resources to help people in rural communities and tribal lands buy, repair, build and rent houses.
Throughout the month, the USDA is highlighting the ways we are working with lenders and community partners to open the door to homeownership and help people pay their rent in rural America.
Here in Nevada, our housing staff visit rural community centers and housing partners to promote our programs and connect with people who may not know that buying a home – or the improvements needed to their existing home – is fully accessible.
USDA Rural Development has many resources to support affordable housing and help rural residents pave the way to a brighter future.
Under the leadership of President Biden, Vice President Harris, and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, the USDA is ensuring that rural and tribal communities — especially those that have been neglected in the past — have equitable access to housing resources.
This type of support is essential as residents of rural communities face rising housing costs and other economic challenges. These challenges exist nationwide, but every day I see the faces of our most affected rural neighbors. In response to these challenges, President Biden recently announced a plan to increase the stock of affordable housing across the country, especially in rural areas. The USDA supports this view.
The Biden-Harris administration has already invested $26 billion to help nearly 150,000 people in rural and tribal communities buy, repair and build homes through USDA Rural Development single-family housing programs. This includes helping more than 35,000 families and individuals living in socially vulnerable communities to become homeowners.
We also recognize that home ownership is one of many options — different families have different needs. The USDA offers rental assistance that can free up more income for families to build wealth or give back to their communities.
Whether you own or rent a home, you become invested and connected to where you live.
The USDA will continue to expand the reach of our housing programs so that everyone in rural Nevada has the opportunity to find a home they deserve and that matches their unique circumstances.
Join us this month as we celebrate the people we’ve already helped and reach out to others in rural America who may need this life-changing help.
You can learn more about our housing resources by visiting our website or calling 775-443-4787.
A Nevada native, born and raised in Reno, Lucas Ingvoldstad is the Nevada State Director for Rural Development for the USDA. Ingvoldstad’s professional background includes public policy, public affairs, legislative relations, stakeholder engagement and business development. Ingvoldstad previously served as senior director of government and external affairs for a utility-scale renewable energy developer focusing on solar, wind and battery storage projects in the mountain west. In addition, he served as a senior adviser to US Majority Leader Harry Reid. Ingvoldstad enjoys spending time with his family, is an avid cyclist, and enjoys being outdoors, gardening in his backyard, and cooking.
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