By Judy Monteux, rural development specialist – financial management

In March, Tony Hernandez, Rural Housing Service administrator, kicked off the Mutual Self-Help Housing Program’s 50th birthday and 50,000th home celebration, and encouraged grantees and the T&MA contractors to help him “wave the flag” for self-help housing.

At the same time, the National Rural Self Help Housing Association (NRSHHA) unveiled several tools and resources to launch a coordinated self-help program birthday and homes completed celebration. Committees with representatives from numerous self-help grantees across the country and the T&MA contractors, Housing Assistance Council and USDA RD staff have worked on this celebration project for months to bring the grantees the following resources:

Mutual Self-Help Housing logo

National Self-Help Housing 50 years, 50,000 homes logo SH_Logo_Anniversary_color_LowRes

RCAC’s graphic designer, Dustin Love, in collaboration with the NRSHHA committee, designed the self-help housing logo, which highlights the 50/50 theme for this celebration. There are three versions of the logo: color, black and white, and negative on dark background. The logo was designed to show teamwork, hard work and the empowerment of self-help families. The logo creates a memorable and recognizable image that will increase the program’s visibility on a national level when used on outreach materials, including stationery, press releases, signs, emails, posters and banners.

Mutual Self-Help Housing website

The Self-Help Housing Spotlight website at: will launch in April. The website includes:

  • Build Your Own House tab that describes how the program works
  • Find a Program Near You tab that will show grantee locations from across the country and can be used by potential participants to find a program nearby
  • Video tab that will include videos produced by grantees highlighting their programs
  • Events tab that will highlight special events related to the program nationwide

There is also a “translate” button for Spanish speakers. Grantees will be able to upload their information to the website (instructions are available to assist them) so the website will reflect grantees from across the country.

Social media campaign

In May, the social media campaign starts up using primarily Facebook and Twitter to create program awareness and to direct interested parties back to the new self-help housing website where they will be able to get more information. There is a social media guide available that includes instructions on how to start this kind of campaign.

Storytelling and drawing contest

Another tool for promoting the 50/50 campaign is a story and drawing contest open to current and past self-help families. The deadline to submit to grantees is May 15. Each grantee can submit up to five stories or drawings to NRSHHA by May 22. The top 20 stories and/or drawings will be used at the July conference with national press present and there will be some kind of prize as yet to be determined.

Additional resources available

A Dropbox account also will be used. It will serve as a one-stop shopping location where you can find all of the tools mentioned above and instructions on how to use them.

Wondering where to start? NRSHHA will email you a Dropbox link soon – go to the “Beginning Instructions!”