Helping rural communities too

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Non-profit funding services do their best to work with everyone in their community, but many rural communities tend to be left in the dark, until now.

The Rochester Area Foundation is creating Rochester Community Finance. They make available loan funds for low and moderate income people and non-profit organizations.

They will be working with seven southeast Minnesota counties (Olmsted, Dodge, Fillmore, Mower, Goodhue, Wabasha and Winona) on various things, including help getting a loan on a home.

“We know that gap loans are really important for people to get into affordable housing. We have a program here at the Rochester Area Foundation called First Homes and we’re very familiar with gap loans for that,” said Rochester Area Foundation Donor and Grant Services manager Ann Fahy-Gust.

That can help more than just the new homeowners.

“Home ownership, we also know, is critical for community vitality for its economic engine, for kids to be able to stay in the same school. They do better, the graduate better, all that sort of stuff,” Fahy-Gust said.

There is still plenty of work to be done before starting, but she said they hope to have a loan pool of $600,000 ready to use at the beginning of next year.

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