Federal loans program helps create first-time homeowners in Helena

HELENA, Mont. -- We all know affordable housing is becoming a bigger issue across the state, but there are some federal options that can help people out. 

In one of the city’s newest subdivisions, Amber Wilke, who was raised here in Helena and graduated from Capital High School, is getting ready to become a first-time homeowner. Housing loans provided by the federal government are helping to create new homeowners like Wilke, a single mother of two.

She applied to a USDA federal loan program which focuses on developing rural communities. The program also gives funding to Habitat for Humanity, so the homeowners can help be a part of building the home itself. Wilke still remembers where she was when she found out her application was accepted.

"I just stopped and cried, so happy,” Wilke said, fighting back tears. “Its...just so amazing to...I don't know...to be chosen, to know that everything is going to be ok."

She also told me the construction process mostly took place during a time where they couldn't have as many volunteers helping the process due to COVID-19. So, the neighbors took matters into their own hands, helping each other through the process, and taking it in stride as they put their homes together through trial and error.

That process led Wilke to see her new home as the "home that friends built". Finishing touches are still being put on, but Wilke and her neighbors are getting set to move in this summer.

For more information on USDA loans and how you can find out your eligibility for them, click here.

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