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Families work toward homeownership

December 04, 2006

FAYETTEVILLE, Pa. - Five families are building their own and each others' homes in Greenbriar Estates near Fayetteville. They are participants in a program sponsored and supervised by Interfaith Housing Alliance, which has projects and offices in Pennsylvania and Maryland.

They will be working throughout the winter months and well into next year, sacrificing time with their friends and families in order to become homeowners. Their labor is their downpayment and earns them significant "sweat equity" in their homes.

A similar project will begin soon in Cascade, where 10 home sites are available.

Affordable housing has become an issue all over the Quad-State region, as metro commuters move farther and farther out to find their American dream. This migration has pushed local prices out of reach of many of those who live and work in the area.

This program, through which the alliance has completed, or has in development, more than 200 homes in the region, contracts with the families to commit 30 hours per week to the construction project. The families work as a team on all five of the houses, making the labor pool feasible to provide 65 percent of the labor required for the project. They can also recruit volunteers to help.

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To qualify, families must be working and be able to resolve any credit issues, and they must take a short course in home financing and credit management known as housing counseling. The goal is to help them succeed in the long term as homeowners. Much of the funding comes through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Interfaith Housing Alliance Inc. is a nonprofit, affordable-housing developer serving families, senior citizens and individuals, and is a member of NeighborWorks.

For additional information, call 301-662-4225.

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