In honor of National Homeownership Month, USDA Rural Development State Director Vicki Walker (center with wheelbarrow), U.S. Representative Suzanne Bonamici (center with level), local nonprofit Community Action Team (CAT), and community leaders join first-time homeowners Jessica and Jason Smith (far right)
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. Read more »
Homeowner Michelle Amrine takes a selfie with a crew of folks helping her to build her home in Ohio.
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. Read more »
A volunteer crew helps construct a home in rural Oregon through the USDA Self Help Program.
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. Read more »
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. Read more »
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. Read more »
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. Read more »