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Northwest Montana Human Resources

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Mutual Self-Help Housing

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What is Mutual Self-Help Housing?
Mutual Self-Help Housing (MSH) is an innovative and productive program. Participating family groups earn their down payments, closing costs and equity by investing considerable and regular time into the building of their homes, and the homes of their neighbors.

Through their sweat equity and dedication, low and very low income community members become homeowners instead of renters, and achieve the cornerstone of the American dream.

What is the history of the program?
MSH began in the early 1970’s and has grown steadily. Administered by the US Department of Agriculture, the program has built over 35,000 modest homes throughout the country. Success stories abound as the new homeowners’ self-esteem grows, their children perform better in school and they search for new opportunities to improve both their families and communities.

What is our commitment and role?
Northwest Montana Human Resources eagerly accepts the responsibility of this program. Our duties are to promote its benefits locally, qualify interested families, and to provide them with educational, supervisory and financial coordination. We act as advisors to the homeowners who are their own building contractors.

Build Your Home from RCAC on Vimeo.

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A Partnership Between:
Community Action Partnership of NW MT, USDA Rural Development and Community Frameworks

Benefits of Self-Help Housing:
You will acquire the knowledge and skills you need to become a successful and responsible homeowner.
•You will be building a neighborhood while you are building your home.

•You will have the investment benefits of home ownership.

•You will have the cost savings of owning a modern energy-efficient home.

•You will control your future housing costs.

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How does it work… It Starts With Tool Training!
The Mutual Self Help Program staff and USDA Rural Development will screen your application to see if you qualify. Upon approval and selection you and other families will participate in a home buyers education class and a construction class. Shortly before the construction is scheduled to begin in 2008, you will sign your USDA/RD 502 construction loan, obtain Course of Construction insurance and get your tool belt ready.

Your household will be expected to work a minimum of 35 to 40 hours during evenings and weekends, for as long as 10 months or until all houses on the construction site are completed. Once all the homes are completed, everyone moves in.

Are you interested in acquiring new skills and becoming a successful and responsible homeowner? Start the process by downloading the Pre-Application Form (MS Word document), the Authorization to Release Information form (pdf) and Record Check Release Form (MS word document) and mailing the completed forms to:

Northwest Montana Human Resources
P.O. Box 8300
Kalispell, Montana 59904-1300
Call (406) 752-6565 or Toll Free 1-800-344-5979