CHAMPAIGN -- Aiming to increasing minority home ownership, the USDA Rural Development agency offering additional direct loan funds below market interest rates for Kankakee and 31 other Illinois counties.

Douglas Wilson, state director for Rural Development, said eligible areas include all unincorporated areas as well as incorporated communities up to 10,000 population such as Aroma Park, Grant Park, Herscher, Hopkins Park, Manteno, Momence, St. Anne and Sun River Terrace.

In order to encourage new home construction, the new loan limit for Kankakee County is now increased to $151,300. Loans are available for up to 100 percent of appraisal, with no limitations on size or design.

Dwellings must meet thermal standards and not include an in-ground pool or acreage which could be subdivided. Interest rates are subsidized based on income and can be reduced to as low as 1 percent.

President Bush has set a national goal of increasing minority homeownership by 5.5 million by the year 2010.

To meet that goal, Rural Development is lower loan fees doubling the number of self-help participants by 2010; increasing participation by minority leaders, promoting credit counseling and homeownership education; and monitoring lending activities to ensure a 10 percent increase in minority homeownership.

For more information about USDA Rural Development housing programs, contact Tony Humble in the Rural Development local office located in Bourbonnais at (815) 937-8940, ext. 5.

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