In this issue:

Policy update

Self-Help news

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. Read more >>

John Mealey—a lifetime of achievements in affordable housing

By Elizabeth Zach, RCAC staff writer

If there is one thing John Mealey would tell younger people who want to work in the helping and housing fields, it is to keep their real boss—the people they serve—in mind.

“You are not out there to get rewards for design,” he says. “It’s the mission that’s important. Not titles. Not climbing the career ladder. It’s the people, the families, who will be living better lives in better homes because of the work you do.” Read more >>

Buhler family build more than a house

We heard about the Self-Help program through a string of incidents that can only be described as divine intervention. The minute we heard about it we knew it was for us and we started the application the next day. We were so excited and quickly told everyone. Read more about the Buhler family—their struggles and success in building their own home through the Self-Help program >>

Hot off the press: USDA, Partners Celebrate First Home Completed under Programs Helping Families Achieve Homeownership through Foreclosure Renovations

HELENS, Oregon, Nov. 12, 2015 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development, nonprofit Community Action Team, and local officials today celebrated a St. Helens family that has successfully built their way to homeownership through USDA’s Mutual Self-Help Housing Program. Read more about the Smith family and the Self-Help housing renovation program>>

Dear Sher,

I have a borrower who has a mid-score on her credit report of 809.  She has a credit card with a zero balance with the last activity reported in 2009. She has not charged anything on this account for six years.  [The Rural Development loan officer] is saying that because there is no minimum payment showing on the credit report, she must calculate the payment based upon 1 percent of the credit limit … Read more >>

News you can use!

Building Support for Affordable Housing: Perspectives from the Field

The National Housing Conference conducted an informal survey that included affordable housing developers and advocates. It found that 82 percent of survey respondents indicated that opposition to affordable housing developments commonly comes from residents who aren’t sure what kind of people the development will bring to the community. Mindy Ault, a research associate at NHC’s Center for Housing Policy, wrote a brief study, Building Support for Affordable Housing: Perspectives from the Field, which gives seven effective strategies for countering community opposition. Download the study >>

RCAC’s Self-Help Builder News is funded by USDA Rural Development

The newsletter is published quarterly for the western region self-help network at no cost to subscribers. We encourage correspondence and contributions.

Stanley Keasling, chief executive officer

Angela Sisco, executive editor

Sharon Wills, managing editor

Editorial office, West Sacramento, CA (916) 447-2854