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USDA Under Secretary, Housing Administrator and Staff Pitch In to Help Delaware Families Build Their Own Homes

Abraham Lincoln was known for being self-reliant, so it is fitting that, with support from USDA, prospective homeowners in Lincoln, Delaware are building their own homes.  USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager, Housing Administrator Tammye Trevino, RD Delaware State Director Jack Tarburton and staff from USDA’s national and local offices joined together yesterday to swing hammers, pound nails and assist in the effort. It’s all part of National Homeownership Month.

Under the direction of the non-profit Milford Housing Development Corporation, 5 families are working together in Sussex County to build their own homes.  The Corporation has the funding support from USDA to eventually oversee home building by up to 23 families.  Families must complete at least 65 percent of the work themselves and no family can move into a house until all the houses in a group are finished.

It is hard work. One of the homes, when completed will be owned by Desiree Riker in Lincoln’s Crescent Shores Subdivision.  Ms. Riker is the mother of a two year old and holds down a job at a day care and preschool. Besides her full time job, she spends her nights and weekends building her home and others for her neighbors.  That’s tough but worth it, because when she is done, she will have a new, safe home with a mortgage provided through USDA with a payment she can afford, and all the work she does is converted into “sweat equity.”

Suzanne Passwater is motivated to finish the new home she and her husband will live in and have wanted for 16 years.  Earlier this month she sprained her ankle while working on her neighbors home.  She kept on working until the job was done and then went to the hospital.  Suzanne also holds down a full time job at a grocery store.

USDA has funding available now through the Direct Home Loan Program.  Self Help groups form each year across the Nation.  To find out more about USDA housing programs call any Rural Development office or just click here.

Peggy Gallego, Milford Housing Development Corporation and USDA Housing Administrator Tammye Trevino (Right) take turns at building walls for Suzanne and Dennis Passwaters new home.

Peggy Gallego, Milford Housing Development Corporation and USDA Housing Administrator Tammye Trevino (Right) take turns at building walls for Suzanne and Dennis Passwaters new home.

USDA Rural Development Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager hammers a nail into the floor joists of Dennis and Suzanne Passwater's new home.  The Passwaters have wanted a home of their own for 16 years and with support from USDA and their own hard work they will have one.

USDA Rural Development Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager hammers a nail into the floor joists of Dennis and Suzanne Passwater’s new home.  The Passwaters have wanted a home of their own for 16 years and with support from USDA and their own hard work they will have one.


(Left to Right) USDA Rural Development Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager;  Dave Moore, President Milford Housing Development Corporation, Desiree Ricker Standing in the window of her new home; USDA Housing Administrator Tammye Trevino; Jack Tarburton, USDA Delaware Rural Development State Director.

Left to Right) USDA Rural Development Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager;  Dave Moore, President Milford Housing Development Corporation, Desiree Ricker Standing in the window of her new home; USDA Housing Administrator Tammye Trevino; Jack Tarburton, USDA Delaware Rural Development State Director.

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