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Despite size, Teays Valley still part of federal loan program

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Even though they've grown too big to qualify for a federally subsidized housing loan program, the Teays Valley area and two other West Virginia cities are still eligible for  the program until at least mid-January.

According to David Cain, housing program director for the West Virginia office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the continuing resolution that ended the 16-day government shutdown earlier this month has left the program running as is until a budget is passed.

The department's Rural Development subsidized housing loan program offers home ownership opportunities to lower income families in rural areas by providing through several loan and grant opportunities, Cain said.

"We have a guaranteed loan program for moderate-income individuals, and a direct loan program where we actually loan the money to very low-income applicants," Cain said. "For both programs, we're a lender, just like a bank, and they go through an approved guarantee lender - we just offer a guarantee on the loan. Under the direct program, we offer the loan, and can actually help them to make part of the house payment."

The greater Teays Valley area, Martinsburg and Beckley were determined to have too many people to qualify for the program, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.

The cutoff population for program eligibility is 10,000. According to the census, Martinsburg's 2010 population was 17,227, Beckley's was 17,614 and Teays Valley's population was 13,175.

The changes were set to go into effect Oct. 1, the same day the government shutdown began. According to Cain, the implementation will now go into effect Jan. 15, unless laws governing the USDA or its programs change.

"Some other states will be more heavily impacted by the changes; we're not going to be as heavily impacted because we're very rural and don't have as many large metropolitan areas," Cain said.

Joe McMillion, USDA area specialist for Putnam, Kanawha and seven other counties, said the "greater Teays Valley area" does not include any of the larger municipalities in Putnam County, but several smaller unincorporated towns and neighborhoods between the railroad and U.S. 64 lumped together by the U.S. Census Bureau.

"Everything is OK until Jan. 15, and it may be fine until even after that. We'll just have to wait and see," McMillion said. "There are other areas in the state, like Parkersburg and Morgantown, that are ineligible. When I first started in 1985, Beckley was ineligible, and then it lost population -- now it's growing again."

Cain has been encouraging families that want to get a loan in one of the three communities to apply in the next few months.

For more information on the Rural Development subsidized housing loan program or other programs offered through the USDA, visit www.rurdev.usda.gov.

Reach Lydia Nuzum at lydia.nuzum@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5189.


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