USDA official shines a light on economic programs for residents | Local News


USDA Rural Development Zone Director Dan Jansen visited the Effingham County Economic Development Advisory Board this week to take stock of programs that may be of interest to county residents.

The Economic Development Council established its revolving loan fund program from a rural enterprise development grant of USD 99,000.

Jansen said the biggest programs run by the Effingham USDA office are Home Repair Loans, New First-Time Home Buyers and 504 Loans, a program that helps low-income families and the elderly to stay at home.

He said that with the 504 program to receive a grant, the applicant must be over 62, but the loan program does not have a 62-year age restriction.

“No matter your age, if you need a new oven or a new roof, we’ll give you a 20-year one percent loan if you qualify,” Jansen said. “It’s about $ 4.25 a month for every $ 1,000 you borrow. “

Jansen said: “It allows someone on Social Security or a fixed income to make these payments to keep the house viable. If you ignore the roof for too many years, it becomes junk.

Todd Hull, Board Member and Director of Economic Development for the Town of Effingham, asked Jansen what criteria qualifies someone for the loan.

“It’s income-based,” Jansen said.

He said the 504 loan program can also be used to replace siding, windows and the oven.

Board chairman David Campbell asked Jansen where someone could get an application for one of the 504 loans granted.

Jansen said there is an application process to find out if someone qualifies for the 504 loan-grant program. Call the USDA Effingham service center at (217) 347-7107 ext. 4 for eligibility details.

He said that at the municipal level, the USDA continues to provide large sewer loans.

Jansen said the rural business development grant is still $ 99,000, but since Effingham County has already received the grant, the county would be eligible for an Intermediate Lending Program (IRP) loan of up to ‘to $ 750,000 at zero or one percent.

“The downside is you have to pay it back,” Jansen said. “The good news is that you can make some money on this split between programs. You would like to have one or two large borrowers ready.

He said another grant the county might consider is a grant from the USDA Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE). Jansen said the grant could be used for a business innovation center and the funds could be used for the purchase of real estate or infrastructure costs.

“It requires a partnership with another entity,” he said. “So it could be the county plus a nonprofit. “

“So you wouldn’t be able to use that funding to help something like the Revolving Credit Fund?” Campbell asked.

“It wouldn’t be like the Revolving Credit Fund. It’s more to host a place where people can work, ”Jansen said.

Meanwhile, board members continue their work on redesigning the wording of the RFL application form and brochure, which requires the applicant to provide a credit report less than 90 days old at their own expense.

Campbell said that while they make the final revisions to the revolving credit fund application, the board should consider whether or not they should require the applicant to provide a credit report now rather than wait for the final review of the application. The board of directors voted unanimously to require a revolving credit fund applicant to provide at their own expense a credit report that is no more than 90 days old with their loan application.

During the public comments, Courtney Yockey, President and CEO of the Effingham Regional Growth Alliance, said there will be a regional webinar on Thursday, August 12 at 11 a.m. to cover upcoming grant opportunities for local businesses . He said the region includes the counties of Effingham, Coles, Crawford, Edgar, Clark and Moultrie.

Anyone interested in the regional webinar can register on the new Business Navigator Alliance of South Central and Southeastern Illinois website at

Yockey said on Tuesday August 17 from 10 a.m. to noon that the Effingham Regional Growth Alliance is hosting a virtual job fair in partnership with the town of Effingham and the Effingham County Chamber of Commerce. He said the companies participating in the fair are Continental Mills, Hospital Sisters Health System, Peerless of America, Pepsi MidAmerica and Three Z Printing.

Campbell said the Revolving Load Fund program currently has $ 19,446 to lend to businesses.


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