Self-Help Housing Program is Successful

By Melodie Phelps | Wayne County Outlook | October 29, 2014

Great partnerships between local, state and federal officials result in successful projects like the self-help housing program.

That is the message that officials delivered on Thursday, October 23 when they visited a site where several of the homes in Wayne County during the past two years have been built.

The event marked the celebration of two years of success for the housing program. During that time, 18 low-income families in Wayne County obtained affordable housing.

It’s a program that brings together home buyers who work cooperative to build their homes. About 100 non-profit organizations operate rural mutual self-help housing programs nationwide.

Kentucky Highlands’ staff guide home buyers through the process of lining up financing, finding land and constructing their homes.

With the celebration, Kentucky Highlands marked the completion of the second 523 Self-Help Technical Assistance Grant which provided $450,000 over two years to support the construction of 18 self-help homes.

The 18 homes were constructed in three groups, with six home buyer households in each group.

Through this program, each home buyer household is responsible for providing 30 hours per week of labor toward the construction of the home, and all the homes in a group must be finished before anyone can move in.

It takes about none months to complete a group of homes, which means that each household contributes at least 1,200 hours of sweat equity. At least 65 percent of the construction work is completed by the home buyers, with guidance and direction from Kentucky Highlands’ staff.

This includes laying block, framing the walls, installing cabinets and trims and painting the homes.

Jerry Rickett, president of Kentucky Highlands, who was among the speakers at the event, has been pleased with ths program.

“I can’t think of anything better we can do than help someone build their own home,” said Rickett, as he addressed the group that gathered on Rain Lilly Drive.

Rickett noted that they are also pleased with the job creation that has resulted from this project.

When the self-help home projects began, many contractors had been out of work and struggling because of the economic recession. This has helped keep people working locally.

While this two-year segment of funding has closed, Kentucky Highlands has been awarded another $450,000 grant which will support the construction of another 18 homes.

The first of those homes are currently under construction on Rain Lily Drive.

Following the ceremony last Thursday, officials had an opportunity to tour two of the homes that were built.

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