Families getting ready to work on construction site.
Self-help families at construction site establishing boundary setbacks and foundation layout prior to excavation. Photo courtesy of MCDC.

By Elizabeth Zach, staff writer

After several years of planning and hope, the first group ever of self-help housing families on the island of Guam have begun construction on 13 homes. The families are participating in the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s Mutual Self-Help Housing Program. Working with a Section 523 self-help grantee, the families will provide 65 percent of the labor to construct their homes in exchange for an affordable mortgage.

On Saturday, June 24, participants had a day of instruction, and started work constructing their own and their neighbors’ homes. The Micronesia Community Development Corporation, the Section 523 grantee, estimates the work will last between 12 and 14 months.

Rural Community Assistance Corporation provides technical and managerial support to nonprofit organizations that operate the self-help program.