By Stan Keasling, RCAC chief executive officer

As we wrap up 2015, I have to say it has been a great year overall for the Self-Help program. I know that you face challenges on a day-to-day basis, and that your programs are never as smooth as one would wish. But I hope that the energy created while celebrating 50 years and 50,000 homes built helped to energize your programs as well. I hope that the effort to create a national brand for the Self-Help Housing program has had a positive impact in your local marketing and outreach. We hung up several of the posters around our West Sacramento office, and I am glad that folks are continuing to use the logo without the 50/50 banner across the bottom. If you need a print ready version of the logo without the banner, we would be happy to send you one. (Contact: Sharon Wills at

The national conference was a boost to the attendees. It is energizing just to know that there are other folks dealing with the same issues as you are, all over the country. In addition, at the annual National Rural Housing Coalition meeting in November we held a Congressional briefing and recognized the work of several House members. California Reps. Valadao and Farr were both given awards for their Self-Help Housing program support along with Kentucky Congressman Rogers. Brad Bishop, Self-Help Homes in Utah, and Tom Collishaw, Self-Help Enterprises in California, spoke eloquently about their programs and the impact of Self-Help housing.

Assuming Congress passes the appropriations bills that are before them, the Self-Help program will have adequate funding for the coming year. Rural Development has stated that it is spending 502 funds at a rate much faster than last year, and this could result in a shortfall of funds sometime this summer. We need to think about how we can grow the appropriations for 523 and 502 in the coming year, and we will be reaching out for your assistance.

I hope your holidays are joyous and the new year will be prosperous!