Housing group lands $700K grant; 21 'sweat equity' homes in store

Anders Rehban shaves a shingle down to size for a neighboring
Anders Rehban shaves a shingle down to size for a neighboring 'sweat equity' home in Homes for Islanders Village Grove neighborhood.
— image credit: Scott Rasmussen

With a $700,000 grant in the bag, Homes for Islanders scaled another hurdle in its pursuit to build 21 new 'sweat equity' homes in Friday Harbor.

On Monday, Homes for Islanders announced that the USDA-Rural Development awarded the San Juan Island-based affordable housing group a two-year, $700,000 Technical Assistance grant that will help cover the cost of staff, supplies, supervision, training and overhead toward the construction of 21 so-called "self-help" homes in Friday Harbor.

To date, the housing group has assisted in construction of 49 sweat equity homes in the past six years; 21 of those homes, in Friday Harbor's Village Grove neighborhood, are in the final phase of construction.

According to Homes for Islanders, the first phase of the new 21 affordable homes calls for construction of 12 on Corliss Court and on Sunday Drive, located on Grover Street, near Friday Harbor Elementary School. Applications are being taken for all 21 homes funded through the grant. To qualify, applicants must be in the "low to very low" income category, have good credit and stable employment.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to work hard to own a home at a very reasonable monthly payments," Homes for Islanders Director Justin Roche said in a press release about the grant award. "So, please come in and learn more even if you have doubts about whether you might quailfy."

In addition to the USDA grant, Home for Islanders is recipient of a $150,000 grant from Bremerton-based Community Frameworks, a nonprofit group   providing financial assistance to affordable housing organizations. The grant will help to help applicants with down payment assistance, if needed.

For more information or to apply, contact Homes for Islanders, (360) 370-5944, stop by its office at 640 Mullis Street, Suite 102b, or online,

In addition to USDA-Rural Development and Community Frameworks, agencies contributing to Homes for Islanders pending housing project include the Housing Assistance Council, Rural Community Assistance Corporation, San Juan County and the Town of Friday Harbor.



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