This Program is a Miracle

“This program is a miracle for me. For me, the opportunity to get on my feet financially, even start my own business, own an environmentally safe home, and learn new skills has been incredibly empowering.” –Johanna, Self-Help Program Participant

New Skills + New Home = New Life

In 1993, Cindy, a single mother, wanted to make a better life for herself and her children, yet found much more than shelter through the Mutual Self-Help Housing Program. She was on welfare and was unemployed, not knowing what she wanted to do with her life, but knowing this was not the life she had envisioned. The family lived in a small, crowded apartment with no yard. Her main concern was providing a good home for her four children.

Her experience led to a new set of skills, and ultimately, a job that took her off welfare. Cindy had no prior construction experience when she joined the program. After building her own home through CCI, she became employed with the agency as a Construction Assistant. She later became the Construction Supervisor for Community Concept Inc.’s (CCI) self-help housing program.

A New and Brighter Future

When Ed and Dawn signed the Land Contract for their current home in Chauncy, Ohio nine years ago, they knew they were desperate for a place to live. What they didn’t know was the overwhelming task that lay ahead to keep that home as a fit place to live and raise their three children, plus a fourth soon to be born.

From the beginning, they were plagued with flooding and power outages on a regular basis. Water reached into the first floor of the home on more than one occasion. In addition to destroyed possessions, the rotting floors and framing members of the dwelling locked the family in a desperate cycle of repairing and replacing sections of the house. Dawn reports that their water bills reached as high as $200-$400 per month because of numerous plumbing leaks. Then there were the drug dealers and related crime in the area, a frightening and increasing hazard for their growing children.

“We had to do something”, said Ed, who has worked construction most of his adult life. While working on the foundation for Three Rivers Housing Corporation in The Plains, his employer advised him to check out the Mutual Self-Help Housing Program, where Three Rivers supervised families in the building of their own homes, financed through USDA Rural Development. Though initially hesitant and not ready to believe this was possible for them, Ed knew his family could no longer endure their current circumstance.

So Dawn and Ed turned to RD Area Office in Marietta, Ohio for help. Though burdened with medical bills, the family had paid off the Land Contract and was otherwise debt-free. They qualified for the 502 Homeownership Program, and now proudly survey the 2-story, 4 bedroom home they are building. An added benefit is the home is in a new and safe neighborhood, close to schools and services.

Rural Development’s housing programs are making it possible for households like Dawn and Ed’s to make a new and brighter future for themselves and their children, with all the benefits that quality, affordable, homeownership provides.

Something Worth Having Never Comes Easy

Interfaith – the name speaks for itself! The organization is a gift to my family and I. The support and dedication from the staff is unbelievable, and all the hard work put into this program has made my goal of becoming a homeowner possible. It has taken me a year to achieve my goal of becoming debt free and with my persistence led me to be a part of this amazing program.

My son is my inspiration and strength, and he is the reason why I wanted to accomplish this goal. I want the absolute best for him and it starts with stability – the key to a great start in a child’s life, that’s what I believe. The work load is a lot and can be overwhelming but **faith without works is dead – I was always advised that** – and something worth having never comes easy, it comes with a price!

Interfaith Housing is a program that allows families the opportunity to make home owning come true, but it is up to you to make it your reality. This is one of the greatest experiences of my life, and my family and I will never forget such a blessing. -Latia, Self-Help Program Participant

Too Good to be True

Like many others in the program, I started this experience as a single parent with the desire to give my child a safe and comfortable home to grow up in. As simple as that is conceptually, it’s an almost impossible undertaking on a single income family. After looking at an array of disappointing housing options, I read about this program from a local website (CCHRA) and felt it was ‘too good to be true’.

While I knew this was the ‘solution’ to my problem, my family and friends were completely convinced I’d lost my mind. I suppose I’m not what you would classify as ‘handy’ (identifying a hammer was the depth of my construction knowledge) but I knew a good opportunity when I saw one.

Don’t get me wrong, the work WAS hard. And many days simply coordinating a babysitter or getting off work on time felt like conducting an orchestra, but seeing your dreams come true by your own work and sweat granted me an appreciation I could have never expected. Instead of giving me ‘housing’, this program gave us a home.

In short, this was a life altering experience that I will never stop appreciating. I hope everyone at Interfaith knows how truly thankful and grateful the homeowners are for all of you! – Sarah, Self-Help Program Participant

Community Unity

“We have been united, all of us. We have a lot of good things between us, even with our languages differences.“ -Maria, Self-Help Program Participant, speaking about the group of families that worked together.

A Shared Dream

“We know our neighbors in the most unique way. We have seen each other through some hard times this winter and share this dream which is becoming more real every day. We didn’t know what we were getting into, but we are happy that we called (the agency) to find out.” –Carol, Self-Help Program Participant

Yes, it was worth it!

“Many have asked me, ‘Jim was it worth it?’ You see because it wasn’t easy, it was probably the hardest year of my life. Because the rest of my life didn’t stop so I could build our house. I still had to work my job, I still had family commitments and community commitments that I had to fulfill.

When I come home early in the morning and I look in on my children sleeping in their own bed, in their own room, with peace on their little faces, I say, YES it was worth every extra hour, every missed meal, every drop of sweat, yes it was worth it!!” -James, Self-Help Program Participant

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