HUD funding + elbow grease = sustainable homeownership for 1,500 families

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today awarded $26.5 million in “sweat equity” grants to produce at least 1,500 affordable homes for low-income individuals and families. Funded through HUD’s Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP), the funding awarded today, along with the labor contributed by these households, will significantly lower the cost of homeownership.

“These families will become homeowners not only because of our grants, but because they’ve devoted their own sweat and labor to their American Dream,” said Mercedes M. Márquez, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development. “Our job is to support sustainable homeownership and these self-help programs do exactly that.”

SHOP grants will be provided to national and regional nonprofit organizations and consortia that have experience in administering self-help housing programs. The funds must be used to purchase land and install or improve infrastructure, which together may not exceed an average investment of $15,000 per dwelling. Grantees may carry out activities directly and/or propose to distribute SHOP funds to local nonprofit affiliates that will acquire and prepare the land for construction, select homebuyers, coordinate the homebuyer sweat equity and volunteer efforts, and assist in the arrangement of interim and permanent financing for the homebuyers.

Homebuyers must contribute a minimum of 100 hours of sweat equity on the construction of their homes and/or the homes of other homebuyers participating in the local self-help housing program. Self-help housing or sweat equity involves the homebuyer’s participation in the construction of the housing, which can include, but is not limited to, assisting in the painting, carpentry, trim work, drywall, roofing and siding for the housing. All newly constructed units must receive certification as an ENERGY STAR Qualified New Home and all appliances and products or features which are replaced in rehabilitated units must be ENERGY STAR qualified.

Labor contributed by volunteers also helps buyers who are unable to perform their sweat equity tasks due to disabilities.. The sweat equity and labor contributions by the homebuyers and volunteers significantly reduce the cost of the housing.
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HUD is the nation’s housing agency committed to sustaining homeownership; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development and enforces the nation’s fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov.

Fiscal Year 2009 SHOP Grantees
The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) is a national nonprofit organization that will use SHOP funds in primarily rural areas to facilitate and encourage innovative homeownership opportunities through the provision of self-help housing. These funds will be used for land acquisition and infrastructure improvements that support new construction and rehabilitation. A portion of the SHOP award will be used for administration of the grant. To achieve a national distribution of funds, local self-help housing affiliate organizations from five service regions will compete for SHOP funding from HAC. Completed housing units will be sold to low-income homebuyers who contribute a significant amount of sweat equity, in addition to other volunteer labor, toward the construction of their own homes and the homes of other families participating in the program. Affiliates will construct either single-family and/or multifamily homes in the form of fee simple ownership. HAC will produce a minimum of 530 housing units. For more information, contact Moises Loza at 202-842-8600.

Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) is a national nonprofit organization that will use SHOP funds in rural, metropolitan, and urban communities to facilitate and encourage innovative homeownership opportunities through the provision of self-help housing. These funds will be used to purchase land and make necessary infrastructure improvements, primarily in support of new construction. A portion of the SHOP award will be used for administration of the grant. Local affiliates will compete for SHOP funding from HFHI on a national basis and will build single-family detached dwellings, multi-family housing and condominiums. Each affiliate has design flexibility to meet the needs of its community. All ownership will be fee simple. Completed housing units will be sold to low-income homebuyers who contribute a significant amount of sweat equity, in addition to other volunteer labor, toward the construction of the dwelling unit. HFHI will produce a minimum of 617 housing units. For more information, contact Elizabeth Blake at 800-422-4828.

Tierra del Sol Housing Corporation located in New Mexico is the lead agency representing the Western States Housing Consortium, which includes Colorado Rural Housing Development Corporation and Tri County Housing, Inc., located in Colorado, and Guadalupe Community Development Corporation and Old Pueblo Community Foundation located in Arizona. Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program funds will be used to acquire lots and build or make necessary infrastructure improvements that support new construction and rehabilitation and for administration of the grant. The homes will be single-family detached dwellings with fee-simple ownership. Completed properties will be sold to low-income homebuyers who contribute a significant amount of sweat equity toward the construction of the units in addition to other volunteer labor. The Western States Housing Consortium will produce a minimum of 56 housing units. For more information, contact Rose Garcia at 575-882-3554.

Community Frameworks is a regional nonprofit organization serving the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. Community Frameworks will make Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP) funds available to 26 affiliates to buy land and build or make necessary infrastructure improvements that support new construction and rehabilitation. A portion of the SHOP award will be used for administration of the grant. Affiliates will produce single-family and multifamily dwellings using a variety of ownership types—fee simple, cooperative, condominium, and community land trusts. Completed properties will be sold to low-income homebuyers who contribute a significant amount of sweat equity toward the construction of the unit, in addition to other volunteer labor. Community Frameworks will produce a minimum of 290 housing units. For more information, contact Linda Hugo 360-377-7738.

Source: HUD

Moe Bedard
My name is Maurice "Moe" Bedard. I am the founder of America's #1 Mortgage Forum, LoanSafe.org. My online work has been featured in the New York Times, LA Times, Fox Business, and many other media publications.