South Dakota United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development State Director Elsie Meeks (right) meets with Colleen Steele, Executive Director, Mazaska Owecaso Otipi Financial. USDA photo.
“Being a homeowner is absolutely rewarding to my family and me. Owning my own home means stability, safety and accomplishment in our lives,” said Stephanie Richards-Apple. She purchased her home through Mazaska Owecaso Otipi Financial. Mazaska is a partner to USDA Rural Development in South Dakota and a member of the South Dakota Native Homeownership Coalition (Coalition). Richards-Apple worked with Mazaska to make the step from tenant to homeowner. Her story highlights the importance of the work of the South Dakota Native Homeownership Coalition.
The Coalition is a partnership of Federal and State agencies, Housing Development Authorities and non-profit entities that share the common goal of improving Native homeownership in South Dakota. South Dakota Rural Development State Director Elsie Meeks welcomed over 50 participants at a coalition-sponsored training session in Pierre, SD and stated “We strive to advocate and strengthen families and Native communities through homeownership; it isn’t often that the Native and non-native housing organizations get to learn from each other.” Read more »
Robert Tapia, a single father of two, is pictured outside the Reedley, Calif. home he proudly helped build with ten other families through USDA's Mutual Self-Help Housing Loan program in partnership with Self-Help Enterprises, which celebrated the completion of its 6,000th home last week. (USDA photo)
The holidays will be extra special this year for 11 families in Reedley, Calif., who received the keys to their homes during a celebration ceremony December 19. The group spent nearly 10 months building each other’s homes through USDA’s Mutual Self-Help Housing Loan program.
The rules of the program are simple, though not necessarily easy. Ten- to 12 families are grouped together to pool their efforts. Each family is required to put in a minimum of 40 hours a week working on all the homes and no one moves in until every home is completed. Together, families pour foundations, frame homes, install electrical wiring, hang doors and windows and even lay tile and paint. Their labor – “sweat equity” – acts as a down payment for the home, and USDA Rural Development provides the families with mortgages through the Single Family Housing Direct Loan Program. Read more »
Nellie Buckman is the daughter of a migrant worker. Growing up her family moved from place to place a lot. She never really had a place to call home until her adult years when she moved into a little tiny house that was originally from Igloo, South Dakota, which incidentally is located on the same lot line as her current residence which was built by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in 1979. Over the years, the Buckmans raised 10 children in this home. The transition from the little small house to the HUD house was quite an experience for the family. The HUD house was much bigger and in the beginning, the children all slept in one bedroom until they got used to having extra space. Her children now grown, Buckman’s home continues to be a gathering place for her large family.
“I love having a place to call home, to care for, and have all of my trinkets and memories surround me,” said Nellie Buckman. Read more »
Federal, State, and Tribal partners work on a solution to bring safe, affordable housing to South Dakota’s tribal areas. USDA photo.
South Dakota USDA Rural Development, Governor’s Office of Economic Development, South Dakota Housing Development Authority (SDHDA), and the Great Plains Native Asset Building Coalition convened a vital meeting of stakeholders recently to gain input on the creation of a statewide coalition to support and promote homeownership in South Dakota Native communities.
Six of the nine Indian reservations in South Dakota, including representatives of six Indian housing authorities participated in the session, as well as Nathan Sanderson of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. In addition to USDA Rural Development, federal stakeholders included the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Affairs, and Indian Health Service. About 50 people gathered for a daylong working session to provide critical impute on the goals and priorities of a proposed coalition. Read more »
New Mexico USDA Rural Development State Director Terry Brunner (r) presents a certificate of congratulations to Sandra and Miguel Duarte. The presentation was made during National Homeownership Month event in Sunland Park to honor the Durate family for becoming new homeowners. USDA photo.
During their seven years of marriage, Miguel and Sandra Duarte and their two children became tired of living in an apartment. Then one hot summer day in 2012, Mr. Duarte, a surveyor, found himself working on a housing subdivision in Sunland Park, New Mexico on the Mexican border. That’s when he asked his boss, “I wonder if I could buy one of these homes?”
Soon he was in the Las Cruces, New Mexico USDA Rural Development office talking with housing staff about homeownership. After qualifying for a Rural Development direct home loan the construction of the Duarte home soon began. As soon as the final electric connection is made to the house the Durate’s will move into their new home later this month. Read more »
Crow Creek MOU signing – Pictured left to right are Bruce Jones, USDA Rural Development Acting Housing Director; Brandon Sazue Sr., Crow Creek Sioux Tribal Chairman; Leeann Piskule, Crow Creek Housing Authority Residential Services Coordinator; Paula Corcoran, USDA Rural Development Loan Specialist; Lori Moen, GROW South Dakota Chief Operating Officer; Ronnette Kirkie-Walton, Crow Creek Housing Authority Acting Chief Executive Officer; Terry Abernathy, Crow Creek Sioux Tribal Secretary; and Wayne McGhee Crow Creek Sioux Tribal Councilman.
Recently, Crow Creek Sioux Tribal Chairman Brandon Sazue Sr. joined USDA Rural Development Acting Housing Director Bruce Jones and Lori Moen, Chief Operating Officer for GROW South Dakota (GROW) in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding that will streamline the process towards increased homeownership on the Crow Creek Indian Reservation. “What we do today can make a difference for tomorrow. By working together, we support the betterment of our Tribe as we know housing is much needed on our Reservation” said Chairman Sazue Sr. Read more »