2017 Self-Help Housing Success Story
Warrick County, Indiana is a rural farming community with a strong history in coal mining. As much as 70% of the county has been over or under mined in the past and active mining is still happening in some parts. With the median home price at $170,000, many low-income families are priced out of the market.
Habitat for Humanity of Warrick County is a Habitat affiliate that builds traditional Habitat houses, and also builds through the Self-Help Housing Program. According to Amy Hobbs, HfHWC's Executive Director, "Since our county is a small, rural county, the resources to fund traditional habitat homes is very limited. The Self-Help Housing program, funded by USDA, Rural Development, gives us the ability to serve substantially more families per year than we would ever be able to serve without that partnership." With the families providing at least 65% of the labor in building the homes, the participants end up with between $10,000 and $27,000 in equity when they move in. HfHWC has been operating the Self-Help program for at least 15 years and in the final stages of their seventh grant.
Amy was happy to report that, "With the completion of the seven homes currently in construction, we will have built 78 homes in Warrick County through the Self-Help program. That is 78 families that would have had no chance to live in decent, affordable, energy efficient homes and to raise their children in a safe place without this program! That's approximately 195 individuals who have been served by this partnership!
"Many of our participants come to us beaten down by life and circumstances, sometimes well beyond their control. Many of them are living in high rent apartments, or even living with family members to make ends meet," Amy says. Throughout the qualification process, HfHWC strives to encourage them to push forward, sometimes having to work with them on some very personal life goals to help them complete the qualification process. During construction, not only do they provide construction supervision and oversight, but they aim to build more than just houses: they aim to help them build their self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth. "It is our mission to empower them to reach for new goals and to realize their full potential in a way that will have a positive, long-term impact on their life. Whether they step into that potential is up to them, but we aim to give them the springboard to make it possible!"
Amy also says she really appreciates the partnership with NCALL to help make all this happen., Throughout the grant process, NCALL works with HfHWC continually, providing training and assistance as needed. "They work with us very closely to make sure that we stay compliant all the requirements and regulations, as well as train new staff and provide assistance in areas that we are facing a challenge. They are also the first call I make if something comes up that I need help with. It is so comforting to know that there is always someone ready to assist us. They are there to help us succeed!"