Owner Built Housing program seeking applicants

By Shelby Harrell Staff Writer | Dec 11, 2013
Photo by: Donated photo A home at Barefoot Ridge that was built through the Owner Built Housing program is pictured after completion.

A place to call home is what most people wish for and work toward, and a subdivision development located down N.C. 209 on Miami Drive could be the answer.

Anyone who has been unsuccessful in obtaining a conventional home loan may qualify to build his or her own affordable home in the subdivision through a program called the Mutual Self-Help or Owner Built Housing Program. The program is administered by Mountain Projects Inc., and funded by USDA Rural Development.

During the program, groups of families work together to build each other homes under the guidance of a construction supervisor. The groups provide at least 65 percent of the construction labor. The labor provided by the families reduces the cost of the home approximately 30 percent. This reduction in conjunction with low interest rates and no down payment can make home ownership affordable.

To be eligible for the Self-Help Affordable Housing, participants must qualify for a Rural Development loan and be willing to participate in a construction group.

Anna Rogers, housing recruiter at Mountain Projects Inc, said the program was targeted to families who would like to own a home, but have been unable to buy through conventional methods. Rogers said it was used primarily to help very low and low-income households construct their own homes.

“This program is very much like Habitat for Humanity,” Rogers said in an email. “Most of the people we work with can receive subsidized payments toward their mortgage until they can completely afford the payment based upon their income. The primary difference for us is that only the people building in our subdivision are the ones who help build the homes, not the general community."

Participants will not have to pay a down payment like most loans. Some borrowers qualify for an interest rate subsidy, which could reduce rates to as low as 1 percent depending on total family income.

To qualify for a Self-Help construction loan funded by USDA Rural Development, participants must meet qualifying income guidelines and ratios, be a reasonable credit risk, have established a minimum of two years of employment history and are willing to work under the guidance of a construction supervisor for a minimum of 20 hours per week during the construction of their home.

To be considered in the program, household income must fall between the following income guidelines per persons in the household including children and dependents: $17,000 — $30,700 for one person; $17,000 — $35,100 for two people; $17,000 — $39,450 three people; $17,000 — $43,850 for four people; $17,000 — $47,350 for five people.

“The Owner Built Program is on-going and once we begin construction on this site on Miami Drive, we will be looking for more property to start again,” Rogers said. “That being said, we will be looking for future builders for the property to come, so we are currently taking applications.”

For more information or to apply, call Rogers 828-452-1447 ext. 127.

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