During the 2013 fiscal year NCALL was able to arrange for a replacement grantee to join the ranks of organizations operating the Mutual Self-Help Housing Program in Region III.
Habitat for Humanity of Sauk-Columbia Area (HfHSCA), in Baraboo, Wisconsin began their first grant in late March. Their goal is to build 10 homes in a two-year period with the families providing 65% of the labor.
Eleanor Chiquoine, HfHSCA’s Executive Director, is very pleased to bring this program to their community. It served two of the goals of the organization by being able to provide more affordable homes and to increase the organization’s capacity. “As a Habitat affiliate, we rely so much on donations and those donations go right back to providing housing. We couldn’t have paid staff, but we very much needed it to be sustainable.”
Self-Help Housing also lined up with the values of the organization. Eleanor shared, “I believe in putting work in to get a deal. I believe in homeownership. This is the American dream—people working hard and helping each other. The homes are going to serve participating families for their entire lives and this was their only path to homeownership.”
Eleanor shared her gratitude about NCALL being a part of Self-Help Housing.
“I can see the real value in having a government interface like NCALL as a partner in this program. I have been really impressed with the role that NCALL plays and their accessibility is wonderful!”
According to Erica, a single mom building her own home in the first group of five families, “Before I heard about this program I knew I wanted a home for my son and me. I looked on the market at foreclosed homes because that was all I could afford. They were all in such bad shape.” She then heard about HfHSCA’s new Mutual Self-Help Housing Program and decided this was her chance to get a nice, new home.
“They say it’s going to be a rough, long few months. I underestimated how hard it was going to be...but it’s going to be so worth it in the long run. I think everyone should get a taste of this. Working so hard makes you appreciate it even more.” Another unexpected bonus for Erica has been working with her future neighbors to make their dreams all come true. “We’ve all gotten so close, we’ll be friends for life!”
According to HfHSCA Program Director Wendy Schneider, “We wouldn’t have been able to do this without NCALL’s help. It’s wonderful to know that you have support. It really gives me security and confidence to know that the NCALL staff is always there to help us succeed.
NCALL's Self-Help Housing Team provides technical and management assistance to operating, predevelopment, and prospective self-help housing grantees and organizations in the 21-state northeast region through a contract with USDA's Rural Housing Service.
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