Rural Alaska Community Action Program, Inc.

Self-Help Housing

Ryan McMilin puts in ‘sweat equity’ to build his home in Soldotna. Photo by Mi’shell French

Ryan McMilin puts in ‘sweat equity’ to build his home in Soldotna. Photo by Mi’shell French

The Self-Help Housing program provides first time home buyers an opportunity for affordable home ownership with no down payment and mortgage payments often times less than many households pay in rent. RurAL CAP established its Self-Help Housing program in 2004. The Self-Help Housing program is a partnership between RurAL CAP and the US Department of Agriculture-Rural Development and the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation’s Home Ownership Development Program.

Home buyers join a group of six to twelve other qualified participants who work together under the guidance of RurAL CAP’s Construction Supervisor to create a community of attractive single-family homes. Each household is required to work a minimum of 30 hours per week building their homes and their neighbors’ homes. Participants earn “sweat equity” in their new homes, which eliminates the need for a down-payment and reduces the size of the mortgage.

In 2015, six Self-Help homes were completed in Soldotna, bringing the total to 50 homes constructed since 2004. To view a virtual tour of our Self-Help homes in Kenai, click here.

A self-help home in Soldotna, Alaska.

A completed Self-Help home in Soldotna, Alaska

Benefits of Self-Help Owner-Built Homes Families

  • Learn new skills: Personal finance, home construction, home maintenance
  • Build and own a new home with very little out-of-pocket expense
  • Gain a sense of accomplishment and ownership
  • Work together with others to build strong communities
  • Affordable mortgage loans (interest as low as 1%)
  • Reduce the purchase price of the home with your hard work
  • Payments smaller than what you are paying for rent in most cases
  • No mortgage payment during the construction phase
  • Gain instant equity the day you move in

Communities

  • Robin Nardini works on her Self-Help home in Soldotna. Photo by Mi’shell French

    Robin Nardini works on her Self-Help home in Soldotna. Photo by Mi’shell FrenchIncrease and maintain affordable housing stock

    Increase property tax base to support local government services
  • Boost local economies through purchase of building materials and hiring subcontractors
  • Stabilize communities by providing safe, attractive and affordable housing
  • Create vibrant neighborhoods
  • Contribute to a stable workforce

Funding Provided By
USDA-Logo-Color ahfclogo equalhousinglogosm