News Release
Release No.STELPRD4005887
ContactSarah Pursley(530) 792-5801
Reedley, CA, Jun 09, 2010 --

@@ USDA Rural Development State Director Glenda Humiston joined Self-Help Enterprises at Orchard Estates subdivision in Reedley today to celebrate National Homeownership Month with eleven families that just completed building each other's homes.

"Through self-help housing, families are doing more than just building affordable homes; they are developing skills that can lead to new opportunities, and strengthening families and neighborhoods along the way," said Humiston. "A strong Nation is made up of strong families, and safe, quality housing contributes greatly to rural Americans' quality of life," she added.

Families participating in USDA Rural Development's Mutual Self-Help Housing Program spend a minimum of 40 hours per week on home construction, working with 10 to 12 other families. Typical projects take from 10 to 12 months to complete all homes in the development. Upon completion, these families have new homes in a safe and secure neighborhood where they know everyone as a result of their team effort.

Self-Help Enterprises, based in Visalia, is one of 13 non-profit affordable housing development companies in the state. The nonprofit coordinates loan applications, then trains and supervises families as they work together to build their own homes. California's Self-Help Housing program is the largest in the nation. Annually, Rural Development funding totals nearly $100 million for Self-Help projects and other single-family housing loans and grants in the State's rural communities.

National Homeownership Month is observed each 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." Dozens of communities across the nation have planned events and activities throughout June to highlight their role in expanding homeownership.

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 $134 billion in loans and loan guarantees.


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, S.W.,

Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).