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USDA Celebrates Homeownership Month: Two Rural Families Recognized in Sisseton

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Sisseton, SD, June 18, 2014 – Across the nation, events and celebrations are underway to recognize the American Dream of homeownership.  In Sisseton, SD, Myron Doud and Stephanie Richards, and Joe and Danielle Donnell families are being highlighted for receiving Rural Development Section 502 Direct Single Family Housing Loans to purchase their homes.  Doud and Richards – a family of eight – had previously been living with his parents in a four bedroom house.  Donnell – a family of three – had previously been living with her family.

“Homeownership is a critical step on the ladder of opportunity.  Homeowners are the heart of a community and they take pride in the places they live and work,” said USDA Rural Development State Director Elsie M. Meeks.  “Homeownership provides financial stability, self-worth, and security for rural families.  The Doud, Richards, and Donnell families exemplify the commitment the Obama Administration has made to bring resources to rural America to provide decent, affordable housing to those who need it.”

An important piece of Homeownership Month celebrations is the recognition of partners who are striving to make homeownership dreams come true.  These two families are the first to benefit from a Memorandum of Understanding entered into between USDA Rural Development, Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Housing Authority (SWOHA), and Dacotah Bank.  Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines (FHLB) Native American Homeownership Initiative (NAHI) is a program through FHLB acting through SWHA.  Through a participating member financial institution, Dacotah Bank, NAHI can provide an eligible household up to $10,000 in a forgivable grant for down payment and costs in conjunction with a 502 Direct Loan from USDA RD (construction-permanent loan with a single point of contact). This funding will help provide a Native American family a homeownership opportunity that is affordable for them in areas with a limited inventory of existing homes. 

The list of partners assisting the Doud and Richards family include:  Rural Development provided a 502 direct loan of $112,000 that was leveraged with a $3,500 Homes Are Possible, Inc. (HAPI) silent mortgage, a $10,000 GROW SD silent mortgage for repairs, a $1,000 GROW SD silent mortgage for closing costs, and $10,000 NAHI grant for down payment and closing costs.  In addition, they entered into the Dakota Dream Savings Fund (DDSF) program where they set-up financial goals and received coaching from GROW SD.  Through this program, the couple was able to save $4,000 which allowed them to obtain an additional $12,000 through the DDSF to use for the down payment.

The list of partners assisting the Donnell family include: Rural Development provided a 502 direct loan of $99,500 that was leveraged with a $3,500 Homes Are Possible, Inc. (HAPI) silent mortgage, a $2,500 GROW SD silent mortgage for repairs, a $1,000 GROW SD silent mortgage for closing costs, and $10,000 NAHI grant for down payment and closing costs. 

Both applications were packaged loans through GROW SD. 

“One of our daughters was very excited about her new bedroom; she wasn’t even scared to sleep in a room all by herself!  The kids now have room to have sleep-overs with their friends and a nice backyard to play,” said Stephanie Richards, new homeowner.

“Our home is a beautiful white house with a porch and a creek runs through our backyard,” said Joe Donnell, new homeowner.  “There is lots of space for our family to grow.  This house is an amazing gift from the Lord!”

The Agency’s direct loan program allows borrowers to purchase an existing home, finance new construction or repair of an existing home.  Eligibility is based on household income, which must not exceed 80% of the median income for the area, repayment ability, and credit history.  Payments can be based on an interest rate as low as one-percent.

“The Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines is greatly appreciative of the work of the USDA office in South Dakota and all the partners in this initiative, including Dakota Bank, which made it possible for our grant program to assist households with the purchase of an existing home or construction of a home.  This partnership is a model that could be used to assist more Native American families achieve homeownership in areas where there are few housing options,” said Rick Bloxham, Homeownership Manager for the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines.

“Most of Dacotah Bank’s footprint is rural and housing is a critical need in our communities across South Dakota, North Dakota, and Minnesota,” said Rodney Fouberg, Dacotah Bank, Inc. chairman of the board.  “It is not only an honor to work closely with the various resource professionals on this type of a program, but it is a responsibility.”

“We at the Sisseton-Wahpeton Housing Authority see the importance of encouraging our members to pursue homeownership opportunities.  Through the Memorandum of Understanding between USDA Rural Development, the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, and Dacotah Bank, the Sisseton-Wahpeton Housing Authority is able to assist Native American families living on the Lake Traverse Reservation to occupy their new homes sooner than expected by up fronting $10,000 which in turn is reimbursed through the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines Native American Housing Initiative Program.  It’s just a win, win situation for everyone,” said Floyd Kirk, Executive Director of the Sisseton Wahpeton Housing Authority.

The new homeowners reside in a StrikeForce County.  To learn more about how StrikeForce is encouraging growth and creating opportunity (PDF, 270KB) | Spanish (PDF, 161KB), and how you can get involved.

South Dakota USDA Rural Development Offices are located in Aberdeen, Mitchell, Pierre, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Watertown, and Yankton.  Please contact our state office at 605-352-1132 for additional information.

Today’s events coincide with the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Homebuyers Fair held annually at the Dakota Connection Bingo Hall and Casino.

USDA, its federal partners, members of the housing community and citizens across the country celebrate National Homeownership Month each year to bring attention to the role housing plays in the U.S. economy.  This year’s theme, “USDA: Own Your Future.  Own Your Home,” underscores housing’s importance to halting the out-migration of rural residents. 

President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities.  Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities.

USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values.  President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.


USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users)


Tammi Schone, (605) 352-1102

Category: GROW SD

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The GROW South Dakota Organizations Have had a Remarkable Few Years!

Grow South Dakota deployed 172 down payment and closing cost loans for a total of $1.17 million, paired with $25.2 million in partner first mortgages.

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GROW South Dakota

GROW South Dakota
104 Ash Street East | Sisseton, SD  57262
Phone (605) 698-7654 | Fax (605) 698-3038