Most Viewed Stories
New homeowners make down payments with labor
On Saturday morning, seven soon-to-be new homeowners in Colusa threw on tool belts and worked together to build their houses at the south end of Third Street.
During the project known as mutual self help housing, put on by Chico based nonprofit Community Housing Improvement Program, families form groups of six to 10 participants who put in at least 65 percent of the labor to build their homes. Their labor becomes their down payment, and over eight to 10 months the group constructs their homes, each borrower contributing at least 30 hours a week in self-help labor — with the help of family and friends.
"I'm grateful that I got this opportunity to provide a home for my family. Without it, I don't think I would have been able to (buy a house)," said Nancy Martinez, a participant at the construction site.
"The houses are affordable, and there is no down payment," Jill Quezada, director of homeownership and counseling services for CHIP, wrote in an email. "It's amazing to see the work these families do, and it would be wonderful for the community to become more aware of this really quality affordable homeownership option for low-income families."
The financing for the borrowers is provided by the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development. In order to qualify for the program, participants must be at or below 80 percent of the area median income for their area, adjusted for family size. They must show that they are able to make payments. They must have acceptable credit, must be a first-time home buyer, and must occupy the home as their primary residence.
"One of the most noteworthy benefits of the mutual self-help program is that the families work together in groups cooperatively to build the homes. Long before they move in, they know who their neighbors are and have formed friendships and community," Quezada wrote.
"To date, we have helped more than 1,700 families build their homes in the counties of Butte, Glenn, Shasta, and Tehama. Recently we added the counties of Colusa, Yuba and Sutter to our rural service area. We are so pleased to be offering quality, affordable homeownership opportunities to Colusa residents," she wrote.