By Elizabeth Zach, staff writer

Joyce Allen, Stanely Keasling and Ron Tackett
Joyce Allen (left) and Ron Tackett (right) from USDA presented the Rural Housing Champion Award award to RCAC’s CEO Stanley Keasling.

RCAC recently received the Rural Housing Champion Award for its work in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Mutual Self-Help Housing Program. Joyce Allen, USDA Rural Development’s single family housing deputy administrator, recognized RCAC for its successful efforts in the western U.S. and western Pacific territories. This is the first year USDA Rural Development has given the award. Along with RCAC, the Federation of Appalachian Enterprises (FAHE), Wells Fargo and the National Association of Realtors received it. The award recognizes organizations that help rural low-income Americans to become homeowners.

Allen presented the award to RCAC’s Chief Executive Officer, Stanley Keasling, during a self-help housing groundbreaking ceremony in St. Helena, California.

Through the self-help housing program low-income borrowers work together under the guidance of a nonprofit public housing entity (self-help grantee) to build their own and their neighbors’ homes.

RCAC coordinates activities with USDA staff and provides training and technical assistance to help grantees obtain grant funding, manage the grant contract, manage construction, assist with loan packaging, homeownership and board and staff training and other assistance necessary to complete the housing production.

USDA’s Section 523 Mutual Self-Help Housing program funds this work and the USDA Section 502 direct loan program provides the affordable mortgages to complement the participants’ sweat equity.