Pictured: USDA Rural Development Specialist Cynthia Alvarez presents the Colvins with a Certificate of Congratulations on the financing of their new home through the Direct Loan Program. Photo by MAURICIO JULIAN CUELLAR JR.

USDA program helps residents with buying home

Mauricio Julian Cuellar Jr., Alice Echo-News Journal

Daniel Colvin has a strong belief in God, and knew that one day his faith would bring about good things. On Friday, he and his wife Susan were presented with a Certificate of Congratulations from the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development office, for financing their home through their Direct Loan Program.

"Owning a home, to have a home, it's wonderful," Colvin said. "To have a home that God blessed and to have a wife. He blessed our marriage." The Colvins will be celebrating their wedding anniversary June 28, so this month is in many ways to them a double blessing.

June is National Homeownership Month. According to the USDA, nearly 70 percent of all Americans now enjoy the satisfaction of owning their own home. For 60 years, USDA Rural Development has helped rural Americans become homeowners through its Direct and Guaranteed Rural Housing Loan programs. Over 876 families have become homeowners across Texas this year through the Guaranteed Rural Housing Loan Programs and 412 families through the Direct Rural Housing Loan Programs.

Today in Alice, Jim Wells County Mr. & Mrs. Daniel W. Colvin were presented with a Certificate of Congratulations by Cynthia Alvarez, Rural Development Specialist on the financing of their home through Rural Development's Direct Loan Program.

Cynthia Alvarez, an USDA Rural Development Specialist said the department's mission is to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural residents. The Colvins know about quality of life first hand. Before the move to their new home, the family lived in a trailer in the area that leaked. After the heavy rains struck last month, their life was filled with leaks. "It really leaked," Susan said. "But now nothing leaks," Daniel said, surveying his new home. "Nothing leaks. After this last rain storm, nothing leaks."

For further information on the many programs administered by USDA Rural Development, their website is http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/tx/ or call locally at (361) 668-0453, Ext. 4.

Nationwide, Rural Development has invested more than $76.8 billion since 2001 for equity and technical assistance to finance and foster growth in homeownership, business development and critical community and technology infrastructure, according to a press release from USDA.

The Alice local office services 11 counties that include Jim Wells, Duval, Aransas, Bee, Goliad, Kleberg, Live Oak, McMullen, Nueces, Refugio and San Patricio. In these 11 counties, 57 Guaranteed Rural Housing Loans totaling over $5.2 Million and 13 Direct Rural Housing Loans totaling over $950,000 have been made.

"Everyone at Rural Development was absolutely wonderful. We had total confidence in what we were doing. They were very, very cordial," Daniel said.