Sowing Seeds of Hope
Self-Help Housing Program
What is it?
Similar to Habitat for Humanity, the families must qualify for a low-interest loan and help to build the house.
How it works
Rural Development, an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture, makes the program Self
Help Housing available to local governments and non-profits such as Sowing Seeds of Hope. Rural
Development awards us a grant to administer the program, and they make the loans to the families. The
loans are typically between $75,000 and $125,000.
Once qualified, they become a part of group of 5-10 families that will build together. We help them to find
land if they don't already own a lot. Then we design their house through a participatory process of 5
meetings that starts with a tour of their existing home and a questionnaire. This inspires a series of floor
plans and models, with the final result being a house plan that was created to meet their particular needs
Finally, work on the houses begins. The families all work together on each house under the care of a
knowledgeable construction supervisor. No one moves in until everyone's home is complete.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Office of Rural Development has awarded Perry County's Sowing
Seeds of Hope, Inc. a $338,800 grant in for a new self-help housing initiative.
The grant will allow Sowing Seeds of Hope, a non-profit organization, to administer loans to low-income
families for new homes that they help build themselves. Sowing Seeds of Hope has already received over
140 applications for this program. The organization projects building custom-designed homes for 20
families in a two-year period.