Housing authority plans homebuilding project in Jefferson County

Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — The Port Angeles-based Peninsula Housing Authority is expanding its Mutual Self Help Program to Jefferson County and is accepting applications for its first group build in Port Townsend.

The deadline for applications for this initial project is Aug. 1, said Carolyn Stimbert of the Jefferson County office, but applications are taken continuously for subsequent projects, she emphasized.

“We’re always accepting applications,” she said.

In 2011, the Jefferson County and Clallam County housing authorities combined into the Peninsula Housing Authority.

“This is a new round of grant funding” from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, “so we will be serving Jefferson County,” Stimbert said.

“I’m very excited about it and looking forward to working with people, giving them the same opportunity that families in Clallam County have had,” she added.

In the Mutual Self-Help Housing Program, instead of a down payment, families are required to put in 32 hours or more a week working on their home — and seven to nine of their neighbors’ homes — until all the homes are completed.

The Jefferson County group build probably will consist of seven homes, Stimbert said.

“Everyone works on everyone else’s house,” she said.

Sixteen of each family’s weekly hours must be by the household members, while the other 16 can be completed by volunteers for the family.

Disabled people may have all 32 hours donated.

No previous construction experience is needed.

Peninsula Housing Authority will hire a construction supervisor who teaches how to use tools and complete the work.

The supervisor also coordinates the work of sub-contractors and orders material as they are needed.

Although there is no down payment, owners make monthly payments once they move in.

The housing authority is considering lots now, Stimbert said.

Financing for the lots will come from Community Frameworks, a nonprofit with offices in Spokane and Bremerton that supports the creation of affordable housing using federal Department of Housing and Urban Development funds.

“We hope to have [the houses] started by February,” Stimbert said.

It takes 8 to 10 months to finish a group of homes.

“No one moves in until they are all done,” Stimbert said.

House plans include two-bedroom homes with one bath and three-bedroom homes with two baths.

The homes are designed to fit into the community and with the particular lots they will occupy.

Eligible applicants must qualify for USDA loans and fit income requirements, Stimbert said.

Those who qualify first will have the first choice of the lots and homes.

Peninsula Housing Authority provides pre-purchase counseling, loan screening, and credit repair assistance.

The program helps even those who don’t participate in it, Stimbert said.

“Every unit of new low-income housing owners build frees up an existing unit for someone else, so it does help the whole community,” she said.

For more information, or to apply, phone Stimbert at 360-379-2565 or 360-452-7631, ext. 822 or email her at cstimbert@peninsulapha.org.

Potential applicants also can check the website at peninsulapha.org.

Last modified: June 09. 2013 5:08PM
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