The usda self help model
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The USDA Self Help Model. Extending your reach to the nearly Unreachable. Key Players. T&MA orgs. USDA. Grantees. Families. The Grant & the Loan. A Section 523 USDA Technical Assistance grant, for two years, is available to non-profits, tribes or government entities.

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The USDA Self Help Model

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The usda self help model

The USDA Self Help Model

Extending your reach to the nearly


Key players

Key Players






The grant the loan

The Grant & the Loan

  • A Section 523 USDA Technical Assistance grant, for two years, is available to non-profits, tribes or government entities.

  • Section 502 USDA loans are available to those at or below 80% of AMI. This is a one-step construction to perm loan.

The grantee

The Grantee

  • Program management

  • Staff

  • Recruit eligible families

  • Acquire suitable building sites

  • Teach families to build their homes as a group

  • Track each family’s loan expenditures

  • Control & direct families & subcontractors



  • Learn and hone new skills

  • Commit to minimum of 30 hours per week per household

  • Work cooperatively on all houses

  • Follow the direction of the Construction Supervisor

  • Review requests for payments to suppliers and subcontractors

The usda self help model


  • This program changes lives!

  • The participants have to be truly committed; have to learn to:

    Budget their time (and money)

    Set goals and achieve them

    Have pride in what they have accomplished

    Work together as a team

    Break many habits

    Make decisions as a team

    Endure: weather, setbacks, fatigue, etc.


Usda instructions regulations

USDA Instructions & Regulations


    Instructions (1944-I, among others)

    Procedure Notices

    Administrative Notices


    and more

Two stage grant

Two-stage Grant

  • Pre-development Grant ($10,000)

    Feasibility Study

    Organizational Capacity/Experience

    Establish number of homes to build

    Determine land available

    Marketing plan to reach families

Pre development cont d

Pre-development (cont’d)

  • Preliminary program budget (2 year)

    Roughly 15% of a modest new home times the number of homes to be built

    $170K X .15=$25.5K X 16 yields

    a total 2 year grant of $408,000

Full grant application

Full Grant Application

  • Recruit families- must be 80% of AMI or below, 40% must be at or below 50%

  • Secure buildable lots

  • Develop house plans, spec’s and budgets

  • Hire Staff

  • Package loans

  • Formulate Group Labor Agreement (Families must perform 65% of labor)



  • Construction Process

    • Train, supervise, schedule subs

    • Track Family Hours

    • Order Materials, track expenses

    • Quarterly Reviews with RD

      Funds used vs Budgeted

      Construction Schedule

Grant closeout

Grant Closeout

  • Five criteria:

  • Meet all 5 = Outstanding

  • Meet at least 3 = Acceptable

  • Number of houses actually constructed

  • 40% very low income served

  • Meet the 65% family labor requirement

  • Did TA costs remain within budget

  • Meet all other terms of grant agreement

Positive results

Positive Results

  • Families learn lots of building skills

  • Families have neighbors that will watch their homes when they are away

  • Schools have a more stable enrollment

  • New jobs have been created due to amount of subcontract labor hired and material purchased

  • Families tend to be more participative in community

  • Neighborhood will be well maintained

  • Community receives more tax money

  • Families earn great deal of respect from community

  • Great deal of money flows through local economy

Four t ma contractors

Four T&MA Contractors

  • Florida Non-Profit Housing, Inc. (FNPH) (863) 385-2519

  • Little Dixie Community Action Agency, Inc. (LDCAA) (580) 326-5165

  • National Council of Agricultural Life and Labor Research Fund, Inc. (NCALL) (302) 678-9400

  • Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) (916) 447-2854

Move in ceremony

Move-in Ceremony

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