Congresswoman Luria Successfully Advocates for USDA Rural Development Specialist for Eastern Shore

December 5, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Elaine Luria announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will hire a Rural Development Specialist for Virginia’s Eastern Shore. This decision comes after the Congresswoman pushed for the reestablishment of this position to assist residents of the Eastern Shore.

“I am encouraged that USDA is hiring a Rural Development Specialist to assist Eastern Shore residents with critical housing issues,” said Congresswoman Elaine Luria. “For too long, Eastern Shore residents were unable to receive professional help with federal loans for affordable housing and home repair, which is why I remain a strong proponent for this position. I am thankful for the hard work of everyone who helped fill this vital need.”

"The return of the USDA Rural Development office to this region after being absent for so many years fills an extremely important gap in housing services on the Shore,” said Ava Gabrielle-Wise of the Eastern Shore Regional Housing Coalition. “For many seniors who are in dire need of resources to repair their homes and families who wouldn't otherwise qualify for a conventional mortgage, this may be the difference between living in substandard housing and a safe, quality home. Many thanks to Congresswoman Luria for her advocacy and support for the Rural Development Specialist position and her continued efforts in the very important cause of housing on the Shore."

“Rural Development is pleased to announce the creation of a virtual Rural Development Single Family Housing Specialist position on the Eastern Shore of Virginia," said Terry D. Rosta of Rural Development Virginia. "We have initiated the recruitment for this position, which includes the requirement to live and work side by side with our customers, continuing our commitment to provide the best possible service to our rural customers and their communities.”

Previously, USDA had a Rural Development Specialist on the Eastern Shore; however, USDA did not fill this position for years after the previous specialist retired. Congresswoman and her office contacted USDA about filling this longstanding vacancy, and USDA approved the request. This addresses an important need for those living on the Eastern Shore to receive professional help to apply for loans for home repairs and affordable housing. For the first time in years, Eastern Shore-focused USDA Rural Development assistance will be available to serve Accomack and Northampton County residents every day. 

The Rural Development Specialist will help Eastern Shore residents navigate USDA 502 homeownership and 504 repair loan programs. 502 loans serve people who live in rural areas who cannot obtain suitable housing through traditional financing. 504 loans help low-income occupants of single-family homes in rural areas make repairs to modernize and improve their properties.

Congresswoman Elaine Luria represents Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District. She serves on the House Armed Services Committee, where she is the Vice Chair of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, and the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, where she serves as Chair of the Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee.

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