National Rural Housing Coalition Reports on 50 Years of Mutual Self-Help Housing at Capitol Hill Briefing Today

50,000 families have built sweat-equity and gained affordable, decent housing over the last 50 years thanks to the Self-Help Housing Program at USDA

Nov 17, 2015, 12:19 ET from National Rural Housing Coalition

WASHINGTON, Nov. 17, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Rural Housing Coalition (NRHC) will hold a Capitol Hill briefing at 4 p.m. this afternoon on its new report, "The Mutual Self-Help Housing Program: Reflecting on 50 Years of Success." The report, published today, documents the outcomes of the program, which assists low- and very low-income families build sweat equity to secure new affordable and decent housing.

"In non-metropolitan communities, where rental housing is often difficult to secure due to lower incomes and access to affordable credit options, Self-Help is creating homeownership opportunities for those who need it the most—tangibly improving the quality of life in rural America," said Bob Rapoza, executive secretary of NRHC. "In fact, families, through the Self-Help program have logged in an average of 1,189.9 hours per house, all while working their regular jobs and providing for their family.

The Section 523 Mutual Self-Help Program is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Since it was implemented 50 years ago, the program has worked by teaming up families who work together to build one another's homes, meeting the size and structural needs of the individual family. As a result, 1,308 children now have a safe and decent place to call home, according to 25 Self-Help Grantee Organizations cited in the report.

The congressional briefing on the report will take place in room 106 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building. There will be testimonies from several rural housing experts, including Russell Huxtable, president of the National Rural Self-Help Housing Directors Association and Vice President and COO of Milford Housing Development Corporation in Delaware; Tom Collishaw, President and CEO of Self-Help Enterprises in California, Brad Bishop, Executive Director of Self-Help Homes; Tom Manning-Beavin, Director of Housing of Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation; John Fowler, President and CEO of Peoples' Self-Help Housing; Mitzi Barker, Planning and Construction Division Director of RurAL CAP; and Nick Mitchell-Bennett, CDC Brownsville Executive Director. Additionally, Administrator Tony Hernandez of USDA Rural Housing Service, Representative Valadao, and Representative Farr are expected to attend.

"Nonprofit organizations have proven their ability to stretch limited federal dollars to make a real impact in rural America," said Rapoza. "Given tight budgets, Congress and Administration should bolster rural communities by supporting programs like Self-Help, which helps families not only build a house, but build a sense of accomplishment."

About the National Rural Housing Coalition 
NRHC is a national membership organization of non-profit housing organizations, housing developers, state and local officials, and housing advocates. Since 1969, NRHC has promoted and defended the principle that rural people have the right—regardless of income—to a decent, affordable place to live, clean drinking water, and basic community services. For more information, visit

Contact: Bob Rapoza
National Rural Housing Coalition
Phone: (202) 393-5225

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SOURCE National Rural Housing Coalition