Location: Heber City, Utah

Problem:  Rural communities struggle to provide affordable housing

Solution:  Rural Community Assistance Corporation’s (RCAC) Loan Fund provided an affordable housing loan for a self-help housing development

The United States is in the midst of an affordable housing crisis. Low- and even moderate-income households face significant challenges to achieve homeownership. And Utah’s skyrocketing housing prices mean even moderate income families often cannot afford a market rate mortgage.

Mountainlands Community Housing Association (MCHA) is a nonprofit, designated Community Housing Development Organization that operates a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Mutual Self-Help Housing Program in Summit and Wasatch counties in Utah, where communities are experiencing rapid population growth. Heber City, which is about 27 miles east of Provo, needs work force housing for community members who work in education, healthcare and public safety sectors.

In the self-help program, participants work together under the guidance of a nonprofit public housing entity (self-help grantee) to build each other’s homes. With a construction supervisor on site, these building groups perform at least 65 percent of the construction work required (known as “sweat equity”) to build their homes. The sweat equity enables them to qualify for an affordable mortgage through the USDA Section 502 loan program.

RCAC’s Loan Fund provided a $3.1 million loan to MCHA for site acquisition and site development for a 55-unit subdivision in Heber City, which will include one- and two-story townhomes and single-family homes. This project will provide much needed affordable housing, and improve the lives of rural Utah families.