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self help housing

High Five Series: Rural America is Home for the Holidays

Oh, there’s nooooo place like hooooome for the holidays… Every time I hear that song I get an extra spring in my step knowing that I work for an organization that helped more than 160,000 families afford to buy, rent, or repair their homes this year. That’s 160,000 families in rural America that are home for the Holidays.

This year, 50 New Hampshire families living in one of our rental housing facilities were on the verge of losing their homes, but because of local community action groups, and my amazing team of affordable rural housing professionals, USDA Rural Development is able to continue to provide rental assistance to 50 Granite State families for the next 30 years.  Last month, we were able to close a deal that will keep these 50 families, and an additional 50 elderly and disabled tenants in a neighboring affordable housing community in their homes affordably for the next 30 years.

Homes on the Mend, Neighborhoods on the Rebound

Jessica and Jason Smith used to watch home improvement shows in which old and deteriorating houses are completely renovated. They never thought they’d be the ones giving a neglected home new life—until now. While building their dream of homeownership, they are quite literally helping revitalize a neighborhood.

Last week in honor of National Homeownership Month, I joined U.S. Representative Suzanne Bonamici, local nonprofit Community Action Team (CAT), and community leaders to meet the Smiths at their work-in-progress in St. Helens, Oregon. Jessica and Jason participate in CAT’s Self-help Acquisition Rehabilitation Program (SHARP) funded with support from USDA Rural Development. The effort allows families to use their own sweat equity as down payment on a home and provides an affordable USDA mortgage for the balance. As the local partner, CAT receives USDA Mutual Self-help Housing grant funds to qualify families, identify home sites, and coordinate professional construction assistance.

Building a Better Future Together: Homeownership Month 2015

Rural America faces a unique set of challenges when it comes to combating poverty in our towns and communities. Too often, rural people and places are hard to reach or otherwise underserved -- but USDA makes sure they are not forgotten. I believe that USDA and its partners have the tools and the means to expand opportunity and better serve those living in poverty.  This month, Homeownership Month, we are celebrating a program that has helped rural families locate and climb ladders of opportunity into the middle class: The Mutual Self-Help Housing Program.

Fifty years ago USDA initiated The Mutual Self-Help Housing Program to provide very low- and low-income families the opportunity to achieve the American dream of homeownership, and in 50 years, USDA has partnered with more than 100 non-profit Self-Help Housing Organizations to help 50,000 rural American families accomplish homeownership.

Local Partnership Fosters Sustainable, Affordable, Livable Communities in Oregon

This month, one of our long-time and valued partners, Umpqua Community Development Corporation (CDC)—soon to be known as Neighborworks Umpqua—in Southwest Oregon, celebrates its 20th anniversary. It is fitting for this special event to occur during National Homeownership Month, since Umpqua CDC has partnered with USDA Rural Development on numerous affordable housing efforts, as well as economic development projects. This work has had a direct and profound impact on the livability, sustainability and economy of communities here in Southwest Oregon.

Local Woodwork Spices Up Athens, Ohio Self-help Housing Project

Submitted by Mark Gideon, USDA Rural Development Single Family Housing Specialist

USDA Rural Development State Director Tony Logan, more than 40 volunteers from local community organizations, and USDA Rural Development staff came together last month for a self-help housing volunteer work day to benefit three Southeastern Ohio families. The families will soon be moving into new homes they help build under the supervision of Three Rivers Housing Corporation of Athens, Ohio.  The project, located in The Plains, Ohio, was financed through the USDA Rural Development’s Self-Help Housing Program in a partnership with the Ohio Housing Finance Authority.

Pennsylvania Families Build Their Own Homes with Help From USDA

Written by Dawn Knepp, Pennsylvania USDA Public Information Officer

In a small, quaint housing development in south-central Pennsylvania, families are realizing the American dream of homeownership with the help of a unique government program.  USDA Rural Development’s Self-Help Housing Program provides mortgage financing to the homeowner and a technical assistance grant to a non-profit agency, in this case, Interfaith Housing Alliance. Interfaith supervises the homeowners who do much of the building of their own homes. To date, 20 families have completed homes and moved into the 39 lot development.

USDA Housing Administrator Trevino Observes National Homeownership Month In Holton, Kansas

Rural Housing Administrator Tammye Trevino kicked off Homeownership Month celebrations in Kansas during a recent Midwest homeownership tour. Her visit to our state was highlighted by a stop at the Danny and Season Brown home in Holton, followed by an award presentation to Tom Bishop, Executive Director of Homestead Affordable Housing.

USDA Rural Development Homeownership Project Helps Tornado Victims in Mississippi

Mississippi’s Rural Development State Director Trina N. George and USDA officials, along with municipal and community leaders took a day last week to help rebuild a home that was severely damaged by a recent tornado that swept through Yazoo City, as part of the agency’s recognition of June as National Homeownership Month.

Utah Families Build Their Own Homes With Help from USDA

Now is a good time to build a new home.  Just ask any of the 213 families around Utah County who have built their own homes over the past decade through USDA Rural Development’s Self Help Program. Rural Housing Development Corporation (RHDC) in Provo, Utah is the non-profit organization created to help income eligible families achieve the dream of home ownership.