June 19, 2018
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USDA Rural Development awards $1 million to Community Concepts Inc. to boost homeownership opportunities

By Dawn Gagnon, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel announced Thursday that Community Concepts Inc. has been awarded a grant of slightly more than $1 million to help families in southern and western Maine build their own homes.

The $1,010,000 will be made available through the newly created Self-Help Housing Technical Assistance Grant program.

“This innovative USDA Rural Development Program supports local families in their dreams of homeownership,” Manuel said in announcing the grant program.

“While spending months working to build their own homes through hard work, determination and teamwork, they are literally building a stronger foundation for their family’s future through homeownership,” she said.

The new grant program will provide assistance for about 40 new homes for eligible families in Androscoggin, Cumberland, Franklin, Kennebec and Oxford counties.

Upon completion of the current building season, an estimated 255 families will have been assisted in homeownership to build their own homes with technical assistance provided by USDA Rural Development and Community Concepts since 1991.

Community Concepts recruits, trains and supervises small groups of families as they build single-family homes in a “homebuilders association.”

Together, they provide a minimum of 65 percent of the total labor needed to build the homes. That can can save families as much as $20,000.

Community Concepts CEO Michael Burke said that this is one of the reasons the concept works.

“This program succeeds through sweat equity,” he said. “Participants from all walks of life — from couples to single parents, from ages 18 to 80 — those who have the dedication and commitment necessary can work to build their own home through this valuable program.”

For more information, contact Sandy Albert, Community Concepts’ associate director of housing and energy, at 739-6560.

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