Press release: Federal help for wildfire victims

USDA Rural Development State Director Terry Brunner announced today that New Mexico families of moderate to low-income levels whose homes were damage by recent wildfires may apply for federal funds to offset costs to rebuild or repair their homes. As well, communities may apply through USDA to replace or repair community facilities or acquire equipment for community rehabilitation.

Brunner said, “We want to make sure the public knows that USDA can provide financial support to low to moderate income homeowners who are victims of the recent wildfires. As well, communities may apply for loan and grant funds to repair essential community facilities and acquire equipment needed for their recovery.”

The funding is provided through USDA Rural Development’s regular housing programs. The financial support is provided as follows:

• The 502 Direct Home loan mortgage program provides financial help to low to moderate income residents to buy or build a house with no money down. The 504 Rehabilitation loan and grant program provides funds to low and very low-income rural residents who own and occupy a home in need of repairs. The funds can be used to improve or modernize a home, or to remove health and safety hazards. This loan is a 1% loan that may be repaid over a 20-year period. To qualify the homeowner must be unable to obtain affordable credit elsewhere and must have a very low income. Very low income is defined as below 50 percent of the area median income.

• The 504 program also provides a once in a life time grant of $7,500 to homeowners who are 62-years old or older to refurbish their homes and that does not have to be paid back. . The grants, however, must be repaid if the property is sold in less than 3 years. Grant funds may only be used to pay for repairs and improvements resulting in the removal of health and safety hazards. A grant/loan combination is made if the applicant can repay part of the cost. Loans and grants can be combined for up to $27,500 in assistance

• The 502 Guaranteed Rural Housing (GRH) loan program provides a USDA guarantee to lenders for mortgage loans to moderate income families with an affordable home loan also with no money down.

Loan and Grant Funding is available to communities of 20,000 or less for the building or repair of essential community facilities and the acquisition of equipment.

Anyone seeking financial assistance through these programs should contact the nearest Rural Development field office to set up a meeting. The offices are as follows:

• Aztec 505-425-3594 Extension 4

• Las Cruces 575-522-8775 Extension 4

• Las Vegas 505-425-3594 Extension 4

• Los Lunas 505-865-4643 Extension 4

• Roswell 575-622-8745 Extension 4

Also, those applying for the 504 rehabilitation funds will be asked to bring the following information to a meeting with Rural Development staff:

• Warranty deed

• Verification of Income

• Cost estimates

• Proof of age for grant (62 years or older)

• List of debts presently being paid and account numbers and addresses of accounts

• Checking and savings account numbers

• Photo Id

• Income tax records for most recently filed income tax

• Property tax information

USDA Rural Development’s mission is to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural residents. Rural Development fosters growth in homeownership, finances business development, and supports the creation of critical community and technology infrastructure. Further information on rural programs is available at any local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA Rural Development’s web site at