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Families Achieve the Dream of Homeownership Working Together

Posted by Clarence W. Hawkins, USDA Rural Development State Director of Louisiana in Rural
Feb 21, 2017
USDA RD officials and Little Dixie Community Action Agency celebrated HOM with new homeowner, Caysa Mejia and family, in St. Charles Parish and presented a flag to the new home owner
USDA RD officials and Little Dixie Community Action Agency celebrated HOM with new homeowner, Caysa Mejia and family, in St. Charles Parish and presented a flag to the new home owner. From left to right: John Audibert, USDA RD Housing Specialist, Randy Griffith, Little Dixie Community Action Agency Self-Help Specialist, Joyce Allen, USDA RD Single Family Housing Deputy Administrator, new home owner, Caysa Mejia and her two daughters, Kelita Pete, Executive Director, Family Resources of New Orleans, and USDA RD Louisiana State Director Clarence W. Hawkins

Allie Lane was full of excitement and activity. On this short street in the small town of Luling in St. Charles Parish, Louisiana, I was proud to celebrate National Homeownership Month by breaking ground for a new home.

I humbly watched as Jacqueline Campbell, Kimberly Dunn, and Paulette Alexander eagerly picked out shovels to participate in the symbolic dirt toss at the site cleared for construction of the next Self-Help home on Allie Lane. They are all currently renting and ready to roll up their sleeves and go to work to build a better future together for their families.

Owning your own home is part of the American dream.  Rural Development and our partners at the Family Resources of New Orleans (FRNO) are here to help individuals and families make those dreams of homeownership come true.

Following the ground breaking, neighboring homeowners opened their doors to their newly constructed homes to proudly show off all the sweat equity they put into building their homes through the USDA Rural Development Self-Help Housing Program.

Before becoming homeowners, Caysa Mejia had been a renter for five years and was on a mission to become homeowners. Caysa learned about Rural Development’s Self-Help Programs and contacted the local field office in Amite, Louisiana. She was referred to FRNO and with their supervision, guidance, and hands-on assistance, the Mejia family built their new home and are now assisting others with the construction of their new homes.

Caysa dedicated herself to building a better future for herself and her two daughters, and I’m humbled to be part of a program that helps people like Caysa find ladders of opportunity into the middle class.  When she opened her doors to show us her new home she beamed with pride. Nearly 1000 hours of hard work had led her to that very moment when she welcomed guests into a home she built with her own hands.

Before becoming a Self-Help homeowner, another neighbor, Leslie Forest, was paying rent for an apartment. Now her monthly payment is less than what she was paying to rent.  She is extremely proud and thrilled to not only accomplish the dream of owning a home but to paint walls, pound nails, hang doors and windows to contribute to constructing her home and assisting others to build a stronger community.

I cannot commend FRNO enough for being such a huge help to low-income families wishing to realize the American dream of homeownership. Together, USDA Rural Development and FRNO have helped 97 families in nine years build and buy homes. This partnership helps families build better futures for themselves, and create communities to thrive in.

Self-Help applicants Jacqueline Campbell, Paulette Alexander, and Kimberly Dunn received a present of seeds to start a garden after constructing their new homes. Standing in the back is USDA RD State Director Clarence W. Hawkins and John Audibert, USDA RD Housing Specialist.
Self-Help applicants Jacqueline Campbell, Paulette Alexander, and Kimberly Dunn received a present of seeds to start a garden after constructing their new homes. Standing in the back is USDA RD State Director Clarence W. Hawkins and John Audibert, USDA RD Housing Specialist.
Category/Topic: Rural

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Comments

Brittany
May 18, 2016

Good morning, can you please send me info regarding USDA rural home loan...I'm highly interested in building a home in Chalmette, Louisiana, thanks!