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Home repair loans and grants available

With the dropping temperature, USDA Rural Development is now offering grants and low interest loans for very low income families.

Very low income families have a calculated adjusted annual income below 60 percent of the county median. For example, in Douglas County, $24,300 is the maximum for a two-person household and $30,350 is the maximum for a four-person household.

Each county varies slightly with median income levels for qualification and certain household expenses may be considered to qualify. Contact Rural Development for details and pre-qualification calculations.

Grant funding is available for those 62 years or older and can only be used to remove health or safety hazards or remodel dwellings to make them accessible to household members with disabilities. The maximum grant is $7,500.

Loan funds can be used for making basic repairs, installing essential features or to remove health and safety hazards. Replacing a furnace, windows, siding or updates that increase the energy efficiency of a home may qualify for this program.

The maximum loan amount is $20,000 at a 1 percent interest rate for up to 20 years. Applicants for both loans and grants must live in a town with a population less than 20,000. Loan applicants must have an acceptable credit history, show repayment ability and be unable to qualify for a conventional loan.

The Alexandria office serves the following counties: Douglas, Pope, Grant, Stevens, Todd, Wadena, Traverse, Wilkin and Otter Tail. Area specialist Allan Cowles may be reached at (320) 763-3191, extension 4 or allan.cowles@mn.

More information is available at

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.