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Grant to Help Rural Mainers Build Own Homes

LEWISTON, Maine - A program that helps Mainers in six rural counties with housing will get almost $800,000 in funding from the USDA.  Community Concepts' Mutual Self-Help Housing Program finds groups of six families who work together to build one another's houses.

The program also helps those families secure mortgages through the USDA. Sandy Albert is with Community Concepts. She says that help is often needed.

"We have some clients that have no credit, none at all, and a lot of traditional banks won't look at those because they don't have any history. And they will look at them," Albert says. "We've worked with many families that aren't ready because of credit things. We help them fix that credit, and then they can apply when they're ready."

The program is looking for new families in Androscoggin, Cumberland, Franklin, Kennebec, and Oxford Counties to sign up for the program. Community Concepts will use the grant to help build homes for 30 families.

Albert says people who might be interested in applying should know that there are no up-front costs other than one-year of homeowner's insurance. The average mortgage is about $140,000, and payments are deferred until all six houses are built and the families all move in.

Nora is originally from the Boston area but has lived in Chicago, Michigan, New York City and at the northern tip of New York state. Nora began working in public radio at Michigan Radio in Ann Arbor and has been an on-air host, a reporter, a digital editor, a producer, and, when they let her, played records.