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April 29, 2016

Purchase Repair Homeownership Program Receives Special Recognition!

The staff at Interfaith Housing Alliance’s Frederick office had the distinct honor of being visited by the United States Department of Agriculture – Rural Development Administrator for the Rural Housing Service, Tony Hernandez, on the 21st of April. Mr. Hernandez brought with him USDA-RD State Director, Dr. William McGowan and Kathy Beisner, Assistant to the State Director. Brad King, USDA-RD Single Family Housing Program Director; Bonnie Rohrer, USDA-RD Loan Specialist; Vanessa Branch, USDA-RD Area Technician; and Jill Lordan, Self-Help Housing Director for NCALL Research also visited.

IHA is one of only six organizations in the United States offering the Purchase Repair Homeownership Program which was developed as another choice for individuals and families interested in building equity in their homes through their own labor in lieu of a down payment which is known as “Self-Help.”

In partnership with USDA Rural Development as the mortgage lender, the staff at IHA literally walks a potential homeowner through each step. From credit counseling to home repair education and advice, we have successfully helped 21 individuals and families purchase homes of their own and we expect another dozen to purchase in the next 12 months. The desire and need for affordable homeownership opportunities is reflected in the 173 individuals or families we are currently working with to become prequalified for homeownership.

IHA helps our clients attain the classic “American Dream” of homeownership. Our homeowners typically spend less per month for their mortgage, interest, property taxes and insurance (PITI) than they paid for renting an apartment. For example, our most recent homeowner was paying $1025 a month for a two-bedroom apartment and is now paying a total of $619 a month for a 3-bedroom townhome and that covers her mortgage and interest, as well as her property taxes and homeowners insurance!

It is both exciting and rewarding to see this program flourish and gain national recognition, and we very much appreciate the long-term partnership with USDA-RD. Before the Purchase Repair Program began, IHA helped 223 families or individuals build their own homes from the ground up in partnership with the USDA, Self-Help Program. IHA is very proud of the long, successful and over 20-year relationship we have had with the USDA.

Administrator Hernandez shared with IHA staff several great ideas on how to broaden our reach and increase our production, as well as suggesting additional sources of funding. He also requested that our staff help to write an article for national publication to better explain the Purchase Repair Homeownership Program. His visit resulted in a win-win for all parties involved.

For more information about our Purchase Repair Homeownership Program, please contact IHA’s Homeownership Coordinator, Carol Riggles, via email at The Purchase Repair Homeownership Program is just one of many ways IHA is working to resolve the lack of affordable housing throughout our region. To learn more about the programs and services IHA provides, please click here.

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