News Release
Release No.STELPRD4018666
ContactSarah Marquart530-792-5801
Tom Collishaw559-802-1620
(JUNE 26, 2012) USDA CELEBRATES NATIONAL HOMEOWNERSHIP MONTH IN CENTRAL VALLEY
Central Valley, CA, Jun 26, 2012 --

@@USDA Rural Development State Director Glenda Humiston joined Self-Help Enterprises today in Reedley and Corcoran to celebrate National Homeownership Month with families building each other's homes through the Mutual Self-Help Housing Program. Celebrations included a groundbreaking ceremony for a group of ten families embarking on their journey to homeownership in Reedley, and concluded with a group of eight families receiving the keys to their new homes they completed in Corcoran.

"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.

"These two projects represent both ends of the journey to the American dream of homeownership," said Peter Carey, CEO of Self-Help Enterprises. "In Reedley, ten families are beginning the arduous task of building a new neighborhood, while in Corcoran eight families are celebrating a job well done and moving into their new homes."

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 8 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.

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. Dozens of communities across the nation have planned events and activities throughout June to highlight their role in expanding homeownership.

Self-Help Enterprises is a nonprofit organization formed in 1965 to improve the living conditions of low income families in the San Joaquin Valley. It is the pioneering organization of mutual self-help housing nationally and soon will surpass the milestone of 6,000 homes built since inception of the program. The organization also develops affordable rental housing, works in rural communities to address infrastructure needs, provides housing counseling services, and partners with small cities and counties to address other housing issues.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $170 billion in loans and loan guarantees. 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 areas.

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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).