Building a Home: Construction and Perseverance

On May 1, 15 families in Soldotna finally had a place to call home. After almost two years of laboring together on the construction of one another’s homes, they passed their final inspection by the City of Soldotna and began the process of moving in.

Terry, a Vietnam veteran, built vigorously alongside these families. After Terry’s military service, he battled addiction and homelessness until, with help and sheer willpower, he began the road to recovery. Eventually, Terry found an apartment and in May he celebrated his 13th year of sobriety.

In 2018, Terry contacted the Rural Alaska Community Action Program, Inc. (RurAL CAP), after having trouble qualifying for a housing loan through a conventional lender. Our Mutual Self-Help Housing program gives first-time homebuyers the opportunity to own an affordable home with no down payment. We supervise home construction, reduce mortgage size, and eliminate a down payment in return for at least 35 hours of labor per week.

The building process enriches the families and the communities involved. Families gain new skills, a home with little out-of-pocket expense, a sense of ownership, and affordable mortgage loans, while communities gain a vibrant neighborhood and an economic boost via the purchase of local building material and the hiring of local subcontractors. 

After applying and qualifying for the program, Terry’s commitment to homeownership became clear. He contributed more hours than any family, many of whom were half his age. Now, his perseverance has resulted in a beautiful home and much needed stability.

By Emi Bartholomew