Volume 16, Issue 4

CEO update: Let’s Talk 502

By Suzanne Anarde-Devenport, RCAC Chief Executive Officer

To the surprise and dismay of rural housing advocates and practitioners across the country, the Senate proposed an increase in 502 interest rates for very low-income borrowers who utilize this premier rural mortgage product, including Mutual Self Help families.

I was in DC and met with USDA in late September and this was a primary topic. I want to share with you some of the facts on the 502 program, shared with the National Rural Housing Coalition by Bob Rapoza, and some data supporting the call for the 502 base interest rate to remain at 1%.

Read Suzanne’s full update


Cedar siding – upcycled telephone poles. Blue exterior – earthen plaster. Passive solar design. Active solar PV.

A Unique Approach to Self-Help Building: Community Rebuilds

By Nancy Jacobsen, RCAC Rural Development Specialist – Housing

I have the pleasure of working with Community Rebuilds Moab, Utah, a U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Mutual Self-Help Housing grantee that takes a unique building approach that focuses on low-carbon, energy-efficient homes. Community Rebuilds started out replacing pre-1976 trailer homes and is currently building 28 self-help homes on the Community Land Trust. Community Rebuilds strives to use as many natural carbon sequestering agricultural byproducts (such as straw and cork) as possible.  They repurpose and salvage building materials and use natural materials such as mud, clay, and sand. The overall goal is to build the most affordable energy-efficient home that is healthy for the household members and the environment….

Read more about Community Rebuilds


Dear Sher,

How long do we need to keep our self-help program files after we’ve completed a building group? And can we keep them electronically?

Keep or Toss

Read the answer from Dear Sher


News You Can Use!

eForms login changes coming soon

The USDA eAuthentication Service is launching a new login page and partnering with Login.gov to provide easy-to-use and secure online access to USDA programs and services. Login.gov is a shared service trusted by government agencies that allows the public to use one account and password for multiple participating government agencies. In addition to your password, Login.gov requires that you set up at least one authentication method to keep your account secure. This is multi-factor authentication (MFA). Login.gov uses MFA as an added layer of protection to secure your information.

Read the full announcement


Changes to eligible area maps for USDA Rural Development Housing programs

USDA Rural Development has completed its 2020 decennial United States census review for all areas under its jurisdiction to identify areas that no longer qualify as rural for USDA Rural Housing programs. Changes become effective October 1, 2023 and updated rural area maps can now be viewed on RD’s Direct Loan Application Packagers page.

Visit USDA-RD’s Direct Loan Application Packagers page


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

Chief Executive Officer: Suzanne Anarde Devenport
Executive Editor: Angela Sisco, asisco@rcac.org
Managing Editor: Dawn Van Dyke, dvandyke@rcac.org

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

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