Homeownership out of reach for low-income families


RCAC provides technical and management assistance in the West for the USDA Mutual Self-Help Housing Program

With RCAC’s Mutual Self-Help Housing program expertise, three Oregon housing agencies Community Home Builders (formerly Yamhill CDC), Community Action Team, and NeighborWorks Umpqua have completed more than 260 new homes and renovated 50 self-help homes in rural Oregon for low- and very low-income families.

Community Home Builders (CHB) has helped 184 families purchase their own homes. Currently, CHB has nine energy efficient homes under construction. There are another 13 homes planned for the same subdivision.

“It was my dream to own a home, and I couldn’t have done it if it weren’t for this opportunity,” Debbie Mayo says about USDA Rural Development’s Mutual Self Help Housing and Single Family Direct Home Loan programs.

After building 20 new homes, Neighbor Works Umpqua converted its self-help housing program to assist low-income homeowners rehabilitate their homes rather than focusing on new construction.To date, 50 homes have been repaired, and the owners contributed their time to help save costs.

Community Action Team (CAT) began working with the self-help program in 2006 and built 16 new homes. When the economy shifted, CAT began to acquire and rehabilitate foreclosed properties to preserve the housing stock and provide a more affordable product for the low-income families.

USDA RD provides funding to local nonprofit agencies to implement the Mutual Self-Help housing program and contracts with RCAC to provide local organizations with program support, management reviews, and one-on-one customized training to ensure that self-help housing agencies are successful. RCAC works with affordable housing agencies in Oregon to strengthen all aspects of their self-help housing program, from recruiting families to financial management systems.