|Sep 08, 2011 --
Outline of Need
Casey, Krysti and Noah dreamt of finding a starter home for their young family, but they had some very specific requirements. “Our son is severely handicapped and we need a home that is ADA accessible,” Casey explained.
They also wanted to live close to extended family members who help care for seven-year-old Noah. The limited options available in their rural community, however, made it nearly impossible to find an affordable home with wheelchair access, vinyl flooring, wide doorways and an accessible bathroom.
How Rural Development Helped
Things changed for the family last year when they learned about plans for the Willoria Estates development, a nine-home community planned by local nonprofit Community Home Builders. Through a coordinated effort with USDA Rural Development’s Mutual Self Help Program, Community Home Builders helped them and eight other families construct their own homes. By completing about 65 percent of the work themselves, the families reduced overall costs. Participants were able to secure USDA Rural Development’s low-interest “Direct” home loans for the remainder of the balance.
Each family selected floor plans, features and fixtures to suit their needs. For nine months, they worked side by side on evenings and weekends under the supervision and training of Community Home Builders’ professional staff. In addition to ensuring the overall quality of the homes, Community Home Builders and the contractor made certain the homes were built to Energy Star efficiency standards, which will significantly reduce energy costs for years to come.
Even with Casey’s full-time job and Krysti’s college class load, they spent more than 35 hours a week doing everything from duct work to finish carpentry. “I had to learn a lot,” said Krysti, “but without this program, we wouldn’t be homeowners and we wouldn’t have a house that’s ADA accessible.”
In the fall of 2011, the families completed the nine homes they built together and began moving into their already tight-knit community.
“I think it’s changed all of our lives,” Krysti said.
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