Up until about a year and a half ago, City of Amsterdam residents were not eligible for low cost housing loans and other grants offered by the USDA Rural Development Program due to the city’s population density. According to Sharon Lawyer, an area specialist for the USDA, the “lines have been redrawn” and city residents can now take advantage of programs offered by the agency.
Both Lawyer and Sanford M. Loucks Baer, also an area specialist for the USDA, spoke before the common council on February 16 to outline some of the services that are now available to residents, businesses, municipalities, and non-profit organizations.
Lawyer outlined several loan programs that are available to first-time home buyers with low or moderate income. According to Lawyer, some loans do not require a down payment or require private mortgage insurance (PMI) payments.
Lawyer said there are also loans or grants available for seniors to repair their homes or make accessibility modifications, such as wheel chair ramps or walk-in showers.
Baer said there were also funding programs available for municipalities to build structures such as new public works garages, warehouses, office space, as well as to purchase police and fire department equipment.
Mayor Michael Villa, who had met with earlier with the two representatives, said he had asked them to speak at the meeting in order to help raise awareness of the programs.
“There are a lot of people in the community who are not aware of these programs,” said Villa. “So basically we wanted to bring them here. This is the first step in introducing them to our community.”
“When it comes to government money that is available in programs that can help communities, it’s our obligation and responsibility to get that information out,” said Baer. “We want to do the best we can for the people of the City of Amsterdam.”
For more information, visit the USDA Rural Development’s website, or call the local office at (518) 295-8600, ext 4. Information about programs offered to municipalities and non-profit organizations will be presented at a workshop on March 9 at the Riverfront Center from 10am to 12pm. Information about residential programs will be presented at a workshop on April 7 at Lynch Middle School from 6pm to 8pm.