Housing Assistance: An Inventory of Fiscal Year 2010 Programs, Tax Expenditures, and Other Activities

U.S. Government Accountability Office

Section 502 Mutual Self-Help Housing Loan Program

Administering Agency/Entity Department of Agriculture
Short Description Provides loans to assist very low- and low-income households to construct their own homes. The program is targeted to families who are unable to buy clean, safe housing through conventional methods. Families participating in a mutual self-help project perform approximately 65 percent of the construction labor on each other's homes under qualified supervision. The savings from the reduction in labor costs allows otherwise ineligible families to own their homes. If families cannot meet their mortgage payments during the construction phase, the funds for these payments can be included in the loans. Nonprofit organizations and public agencies sponsor mutual self-help housing. They organize groups, provide training and construction supervision, and assist participating families to file applications for loans to finance materials and sub-contracting when applicable. Most rural self-help housing sponsors use administrative funds from the Section 523 Self-Help Technical Assistance Grant program.
Primary Purpose Assistance for buying, selling, or financing a home
Type of Housing Supported Homeownership
Type of Assistance Direct loan
Fiscal Year 2010 Obligations Included in obligations for Section 502 Direct loan, which were $78,000,000; obligations represent the expected credit subsidy costs for loan commitments made in fiscal year 2010, including loans authorized under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. These estimates are revised in subsequent years and the ultimate cost will not be known until the loans have matured.

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