BioswaleBy Mariamne Beuscher, communications intern

Families in McMinnville, Oregon celebrate National Homeownership Month with a groundbreaking ceremony at the site where they will build their new homes.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development has partnered with Community Home Builders to assist 26 families who shall work side-by-side to complete construction on each other’s homes. The families will perform roughly 1,500 hours of work on nights and weekends in addition to their regular work schedule in order to qualify for an affordable mortgage.

The new homes constructed at Whispering Meadows Subdivision will include environmentally friendly features aimed at protecting the environment, such as storm water bioswales to treat run-off through natural filtration before flowing into the nearby Yamhill River.

For many hardworking rural families, homeownership is out of reach. Through a range of Single Family Housing Programs, USDA Rural Development assists rural residents to achieve their dreams. In 2016 alone, more than 2,100 low-income rural Oregonians received assistance to purchase, build or repair their homes.

RCAC provides technical assistance and financing to nonprofit organizations like Community Home Builders to implement the self-help housing program. RCAC works with these organizations to resolve program management and program implementation issues and meet key performance milestones.

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Sidebar: Bioswales are landscape elements designed to concentrate or remove silt and pollution from surface runoff water. They consist of a swaled drainage course with gently sloped sides (less than 6%) and filled with vegetation, compost and/or riprap. Source: