USDA Rural Housing Program to leave Grants Pass and Central Point

Grants Pass, Ore. — Getting a home loan may be a little more difficult for some Southern Oregonians.

The USDA has decided to change designations in Central Point and Grants Pass making them ineligible for rural property loans.

The USDA Rural Housing Program allows low income families to purchase homes with zero money down.

Grants Pass is right on the cusp of being accepted under the program, but the population is simply too large.

“The program has been wonderful and just really a godsend for people trying to get into housing. I would say one of the biggest road blocks for getting into housing is having a down payment,” Mary Tillery said.

Mary Tillery is a loan originator and sales manager with Guild Mortgage Company.

When she found out Grants Pass would be excluded from the USDA Rural Housing Program starting June 4th.

She and other city leaders did everything possible to change the outcome.

“The USDA Rural Housing Program is a program for rural areas, and what happened is the population of Grants Pass went over their limit,” Tillery said.

The USDA Housing Program helps those with low incomes to get into a house with zero money down.

Tillery says Grants Pass is approximately 800 people over the program’s population limit.

“Grants Pass and most areas of the state are already suffering from a housing crisis. This will just make it harder on people to buy in grants pass when it was already very hard for them,” Tillery said.

While the population has increased, Tillery says there are still many low income families in the city.

Not only is there a high population of retirees, but Grants Pass doesn’t have a huge income generating industry.

“The timber industry was the last time we had a really good solid living wage job in Josephine County. And it’s just changed over the years. Now it’s more tourist driven, more service driven, and those are just not as high wages,” Tillery said.

Thankfully, other rural towns in Josephine County will still be accepted under the program.

And the next census could help to put Grants Pass back into the mix.

Tillery says the USDA often changes its rules for what’s considered rural.

“Grants Pass has been an acceptable area for the U.S. Department of Agriculture at times, and it’s also been excluded at times. So this is not a new thing. We have fallen out of favor with the usda in the past and then been able to get back in,” Tillery sad.

Tillery says there’s still time to apply for USDA.

The rules don’t change until June 4th.

Lenders would need an application and an accepted contract from the buyer and seller by the end of May.

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