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EPA, HUD Recognize Energy Efficient Rural Housing Project

Release Date: 08/17/2011
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith 215-814-5543 / smith.bonnie@epa.gov

LINCOLN, Del. (Aug. 17, 2011) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency joined U.S. Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture and ING DIRECT here today in recognizing an innovative rural housing project where soon-to-be homeowners are learning construction skills and pitching in to help build their own energy efficient homes.

The program called “Self Help Housing” is operated by the Milford Housing Development Corporation to support affordable housing for low-income families in Delaware. Milford Housing Development Corporation is an award-winning ENERGY STAR Partner and ENERGY STAR Builder. The development in Lincoln includes 10 new homes for families who have never owned their own home. The new homes will meet the most stringent ENERGY STAR standards.

“President Obama created the White House Rural Council recognizing the enormous potential in rural America to spur jobs, innovation and local investment,” said EPA mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “The work that is being done in Lincoln exemplifies that potential creating safe, healthy, and affordable and energy efficient homes.”

“We’re proud to join EPA and ING DIRECT in using our muscle to help to build a home in Crescent Shores Community today - in addition to contributing HOME funds HUD provides for affordable housing and homeownership programs in communities like Lincoln,” said HUD Regional Administrator Jane C. W. Vincent. “The energy saving measures in Crescent Shores’ homes is one of the added benefits of working with our federal partners like EPA—together we provide affordable energy efficient homes that earn savings for homeowners while making us good stewards of our natural resources and our environment.”

Under the program, the new homeowners contribute a minimum of 1,500 hours of actual building time, averaging a value of more than $32,000 in sweat equity per home.

Work can include pre-construction preparation, digging, nailing, installation and finishing. Under the program, the soon-to-be homeowners work together and no one will move in until all 10 of the houses are finished. When they are complete, the new residents can take pride in their craftsmanship and their community. They also have gained valuable trade skills that can be taken into the job market.

HUD awarded $40,000 in HUD HOME funds (HOME Investment Partnerships Program) funds to the Milford Housing Development Corporation to assist in developing the Crescent Shores Community. The monies were used to provide gap financing to increase the affordability of the homes. HOME is the largest federal block grant to state and local governments for affordable housing for low-income families.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program has awarded $300,000 to Milford Housing for affordable housing projects statewide, including these new rural homes. The Self-Help Housing program was created by USDA Rural Development and has approximately 100 grantees nationwide. MHDC is the only grantee in Delaware.

In addition, 50 volunteers from ING DIRECT, in Wilmington, were on hand today helping homeowners with home building as a part of ING DIRECT’s Orange Days of Giving.

ENERGY STAR was created by EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy to help Americans save money and protect the environment through energy-efficient products and practices. In 2010, with Energy Star Americans saved $18 billion in energy costs and prevented greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to annual emissions of 33 million vehicles. More information on the Energy Star see: http://www.energystar.gov.