USDA Rural Development (USDA RD) invested over $188 million in support of housing, community facilities, water systems and businesses in rural Nevada in FY 2016, with a total of $1.35 billion obligated statewide since 2009. Of that, more than $1 billion was in the form of loan guarantees for rural homebuyers and businesses, which the agency's director called "light on the taxpayer wallet."
"I was surprised and pleased that our eight years topped $1.35 billion," USDA RD State Director Sarah Adler said during an on-air radio interview with Jon Sanchez. "While the largest portion of that is in business and home loan guarantees, which are basically a guarantee to a private lender in support of a home purchase or a business expansion, another $69 million is in the form of rental assistance to very low income rural Nevadans living in apartments we finance. The contrast between loan guarantees and subsidy shows that while there is growth in the middle class into homeownership and business ownership, there is also a real need for a rural safety net, and USDA Rural Development is here for both."
More than 600 families were able to purchase homes using either the Guaranteed or Direct Home Loan Program in 2016. Affordable housing investments totaled $133.4 million for purchases, repair, or rental assistance in rural communities. Nearly all of Nevada is eligible for the very popular home loan programs, with the exception of metropolitan Carson City, Washoe and Clark counties.
The agency's Water and Environmental Program obligated over $20 million in FY 2016 to build a wastewater treatment plant in Winnemucca. The new mechanized system will be located out of the Humboldt River watershed and applies water saving methods that will benefit area farmers.
In 2016, the agency's Community and Business Programs both broke records. The Community Facilities Program invested over $16 million to support essential community facilities like the Churchill County Detention Center as well as many small community investments, such as senior vans and patrol vehicles.
The Business and Industry Loan Guarantee Program had its best year yet, with more than $18 million in loan guarantees. Tourism in rural areas benefitted from a multitude of guaranteed loans for hotels and resorts, including an $8.2 million loan guarantee for Charm Hospitality's Holiday Inn Express in Elko and a $3 million guaranteed loan for the Comfort Inn in Fallon. The Value Added Producer Grant provided $99,499 to local producers to assist them with marketing and outreach efforts.
Across all programs, the agency has focused attention on highest need communities where unemployment is high and household income is low. The agency's Community and Economic Development staff worked in depth with the Moapa Tribe to develop a strategic plan, the town of Beatty regarding nutrition and banking issues, Tonopah to assist with formation of a youth commission and enhanced interchange with the Great Basin College. Currently, staff are completing plans for a Tribal Economic Development Forum Jan. 10, 2017 in Fallon.
USDA Rural Development has offices in Carson City, Fallon, Las Vegas and Elko. For more information, contact the state office at (775) 887-1222 or visit the USDA RD website at https://www.rd.usda.gov/nv