www.rurdev.usda.gov, Jun 23, 2010 -- Contact:
Weldon Freeman (202) 690-1384
USDA Works With Delaware Families to Help Build Homes in Observance of National Homeownership Month
LINCOLN, DEL., June 23, 2010 - Agriculture Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager, Rural Housing Administrator Tammye Trevino, and staff from USDA’s national and local offices today joined several families and officials for a Self-Help Housing Work Day event to help build homes for rural residents.
“Today we are literally helping rural families frame their future as we help them construct their homes,” Tonsager said. “Homeownership remains the foundation by which families and communities lay claim to the American dream and USDA and the Obama Administration are working to provide rural families the opportunity to purchase, build and preserve a place they can call home.”
Today’s event was sponsored by the Milford Housing Development Corporation (MHDC), a private, non-profit corporation that provides housing for very low to moderate income individuals and families in Kent and Sussex Counties, Del. USDA Rural Development provided a $726,000 Technical Assistance Grant to MHDC in Fiscal Year 2009. This grant is being used to provide assistance in the construction of 23 homes.
Origins of self-help housing stem from the house and barn-raisings of the Mennonite and Amish. The self-help housing program has existed in various forms since the early 1930’s. The Farmers Home Administration, Rural Development’s predecessor, began financing self-help homes in the mid 1960s. Technical Assistance Grants were first authorized by the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968.
The program allows families to work together under the direction of a contractor to build their own homes. The process often takes a year and, upon completion, the “sweat equity” -- or work that participants perform to build their houses -- is factored into the process of obtaining the home. Families participating in a mutual Self-Help project perform approximately 65 percent of the construction labor on each other's homes under qualified supervision. The savings from the reduction in labor costs helps families to qualify for ownership. For more information on USDA’s Self-Help Housing Program, please visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/HAD-Self-Help_Loans.html.
National Homeownership Month is observed annually during June to raise awareness about the vital role homeownership plays in improving lives, creating jobs and economic opportunities, and strengthening America’s neighborhoods. This year’s theme is “Protecting the American Dream.” In Lincoln, Del., and in dozens of rural communities across the nation USDA is holding events and activities throughout June to highlight the opportunities and benefits of homeownership and share information on ways families can remain successful homeowners, even during difficult economic conditions.
USDA provided homeownership loans to more than 140,000 rural Americans in fiscal year 2009. Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which President Obama signed into law in February 2009, USDA has provided $11 billion in loans and loan guarantees for homeownership. Last year, in rural Delaware, USDA Rural Development assisted 424 families obtaining a home of their own, many for the first time. And this year, so far, 450 Delaware families have received homeownership loans through USDA.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages more than 40 housing, business and community infrastructure, and facility programs through a network of 6,100 employees located in the nation’s capital and 500 state and local offices. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $138 billion in loans and loan guarantees. For more information, contact the USDA Rural Development Area office in Georgetown at (302) 856-3990 ext. 4.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).