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USDA Grant Helps Low Income People Make Housing Repairs


Worn houses with boarded windows are a common site when driving through parts of rural South Dakota. The United States Department of Agriculture, or USDA, has announced a program to help change this.

The new USDA effort helps qualifying low income homeowners pay for necessary housing repairs.   
This program is affecting some in Indian Country.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s, or USDA’s, new program provides grants and loans for some low income homeowners. These funds are used to make repairs that help people stay in their home for as long as they can.

Kimmie Clausen is with Wild Horse Butte Community Development Cooperation in Martin, South Dakota. She says she helps people go through the application process and connects homeowners and contractors. Clausen says the program is helpful for the Pine Ridge Reservation.

“It’s really a good way to preserve our housing stock because we don’t have a lot of rental units or even homes that you can rent on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. When those houses get old and they’re not in repair or we don’t keep them repaired then pretty soon they’re just not livable anymore. It gets to be kind of an issue there too,” explains Clausen.

Clausen says people have been able to repair furnaces, doors and windows as well as fix plumbing issues and add handicap ramps to their house.  

She says all of the contractors are from local companies.

“That’s employment that we wouldn’t have had if we wouldn’t have done this program. So it indirectly affects our economy down here too by keeping our local contractors working too,” Clausen says.

USDA officials say people can qualify for the program if they are low to moderate income or 62 years or older.

Bellow is a link to the USDA and Rural Housing Service's website where the application can be found.