Darrick Price - Help for the 'home' stretch
It began with a single sneeze.
Just before Christmas, my 11-year-old son exploded, “Achoo!” He has allergies, so I assumed the Christmas tree had triggered something. But then it happened again, and again, seven sneezes in five seconds. My boy’s sudden fit was less a seven-sneeze salute and more a starting pistol signaling an evil flu bug to run its course through our family.
By Christmas Day, all three kids were running fevers, and we were a mess. My wife and I were able to nurse all the kids through it before we crashed and burned. On New Year’s Eve, we toasted with Nyquil.
It had been more than a decade since I was that sick, and my recollection of four or five days is pretty hazy. In the fog of flu, we kept tabs on the kids, but in hindsight, I’m guessing they survived primarily on Christmas candy — not exactly first-rate parenting!
Nevertheless, I didn’t worry too much about our children. We have a decent, safe home with great neighbors — a fact for which, in my fevered state, I was thankful. Whereas my wife and I were ill, we knew the kids were protected, and we were able rest more easily.
During those days, I was reminded just how much we depend upon one another. My brother and his wife brought us a meal, half the city of Dayton checked up on us, and a farmer down the way dropped off some extra firewood to make sure we were warm and cozy. These were good reminders that we live in a community and really do depend upon the kindness of others.
I am grateful and proud to be a homeowner. My wife and I have worked hard to achieve our share of the American dream. However, let me be clear. We have received a lot of help and support along the way. We were raised by parents who taught us the value of hard work, education, homeownership, community service and our responsibility to those around us.
Our parents co-signed our first mortgage, our friends helped us find our first jobs and our community helps us raise our kids.
In my work at Community Home Builders, I meet many people who work hard to become homeowners. Many are doing everything right. They simply need some help as they enter the home stretch. In that way, my clients are just like me: good, hardworking individuals and families trying to carve out a life and take care of their families. The only real difference is that, at just the right moment, I had a bit of help, fortune and opportunity.
So I care deeply about the work done by Community Home Builders. Every day, I get to play a part in supporting folks eager to make the dream of homeownership a reality. Every day, I get the chance to offer the same sort of support I so fortunately received.
Community Home Builders, established in 1990, is a private nonprofit in McMinnville, building homes and investing in rural communities. We partner with families and individuals to help them build their own homes, achieve long-term financial stability and learn valuable skills to aid them in home maintenance.
At the heart of our organization is our mutual self-help housing program. This program serves low- and moderate-income families by helping them build their own homes. During the course of construction, nine to 13 families work together to build an entire neighborhood of homes.
Participants receive mortgages with reduced payments through USDA. Each client works about 1,200 hours on homes, receives a great deal of construction training and takes a course in financial planning.
To participate in the program, clients must have decent credit and a steady income.
We have helped 184 families build homes in McMinnville, Gervais, Carlton, Amity, Sheridan and Lafayette, thus providing stable, safe and affordable homes for more than 700 of our neighbors, including nearly 400 children. In this process, Community Home Builders has injected more than $30 million into the local economy, where we are committed to working with nearby vendors, suppliers and contractors who bolster local jobs and businesses.
Over the next two years, we plan to build 22 more homes in Lafayette.
So many of us have leaned upon the community for support. Working together, we can help transform lives and strengthen our community. In fact, if we diligently take care of one another, there isn’t much we won’t be able to confront and overcome.
A new year is upon us. Let’s move forward with purpose, seeking ways to help the people around us!
Whether you’d like to build your own home, know someone who might be a good fit for the program or would simply like to investigate ways you could help, please contact me at darrickp@communityhome builders.org or visit www.community homebuilders.org.
Guest writer Darrick Price has served as executive director of Community Home Builders for seven years. He is working on his dissertation for a doctoral degree in management at George Fox University. He lives in Dayton with his wife, Raylinda, and their three children. His hobbies include watching, chasing, wrestling, wrangling and corralling of kids — and napping.