By Elizabeth Zach, RCAC staff writer
On June 26, the first group of 10 homeowners participating in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Mutual Self-Help Housing Program helped raise the first wall of the first self-help home in Williams, California. They are now gearing up to construct all the homes in the coming months.
RCAC loaned NeighborWorks Sacramento, a USDA Section 523 self-help grantee, $400,000 to purchase the lots to construct 20 self-help homes in the rural community. With just a little more than 5,000 residents, Williams lies 60 miles north of Sacramento; service industries and agriculture are the region’s main employers.
At this week’s wall-raising ceremony, local leaders, including Williams’ Mayor Alfred Sellers, Jr., joined with USDA, NeighborWorks Sacramento Region; Self-Help Enterprises and RCAC staff members to celebrate the first step in developing the 20 lots. The next year will be busy—as with all self-help housing projects, the future homeowners are required to work 35 hours per week on their new homes, in addition to their day jobs, until all the homes are completed. This sweat equity is in lieu of a down payment.
For many low-income, working families, owning a home is simply out of reach. RCAC is pleased to provide technical assistance, managerial and financing support to nonprofit organizations that operate the self-help program to help families afford mortgages and their own homes.