There is no lack of community spirit in Pascoag, Rhode Island this spring, as NWBRV’s Mutual Self Help Housing Program is well underway with its third motivated group of new home owners.
The inspired program, which was founded by the USDA in 1971, has built 52,000 homes nationwide. It offers low to modest income families the unique opportunity to build their own homes to completion, as well as the homes of their budding neighbors. The 3 bed, 1.5 bath homes in Pascoag are part of a 30 home, cul-de-sac centered development. Families embrace the “sweat equity” method, which cuts the cost of building by at least 50%, working in committed teams on their homes for a minimum of 30 hours per week.
“We operate under the premise of building a neighborhood, as opposed to building one house,” NWBRV Director of HomeOwnership Daynah Williams explained. “Everyone who lives in this development will have had their hands on someone else’s house in some form or fashion. No one can move in until the last house is finished. They all start together and finish together.”
Affectionately referred to as “Selfies,” third round program participants are currently deep in the midst of hands-on construction of their new custom homes, each of which are built on .3 acres and surrounded by preserved open space. Under the guidance of a qualified construction supervisor, program members will complete approximately 65% of the construction on their houses themselves. Selfies will learn the true meaning of DIY, from hanging drywall and framing to painting and landscaping. Current Selfie, June Degre, spoke enthusiastically about her involvement in the program, which presently includes virtual “how to” classes taught by live instructors.
“The experience has been so wonderful for my partner Cindy and me,” June expressed. “The staff and classes have been so helpful and informative. We’ve learned so much, from how to fix a pipe and build your own home, to how to save money and fix your credit. We never thought we’d be able to build or afford our own home. It’s been hard work, but beyond well worth it and the process is moving along nicely. I highly recommend this program.”
With boots on the ground recruitment for a fourth phase of homes well under way, there’s no shortage of incentives available to future aspiring Selfies. An abundant USDA financing package is offered to qualified participants, helping shift the prospect of building a home into a financial reality by offering extremely low mortgage rates. Interested participants are encouraged to contact the NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Center offices, who can offer the resources and means to help potential applicants meet the criteria they need in order to qualify.
“The empowerment this program offers to folks is huge. We have the time to help people get to where the need to be in order to qualify,” Daynah elaborated. “And most importantly, it’s about neighbors helping neighbors. Despite the negativity that exists in the world today, people still want to come together, people still want to build together. And people still want to see one another excel.”
For more information on the Mutual Self Help Housing Program, please contact Daynah Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org or 401-762-0993; x215.
Interested families are highly encouraged to inquire about this first come first serve program. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Classes and resources are widely available to qualified and hopeful participants.