Monday dawned as a bright and clear, nippy and breezy day of September in Alaska (the breeze helps keep the bugs at bay). Rural Alaska Community Action Program staff scurried to set up signage and prepare the raw land for a groundbreaking ceremony. This groundbreaking would signal the end of two training programs and the beginning of dream fulfillment for eight new homeowners.
Local dignitaries and housing partners joined eight new homeowners in breaking ground for self-help homes to be built in Sterling, a Kenai Peninsula community in south-central Alaska.
A five-way partnership, designed and created by RurAL CAP, contributed to the success of the training in preparation for the actual home construction. In addition to RurAL CAP, other partners were Key Bank, Rural Local Initiatives Support Corporation, USDA Rural Development, and HUD. RurAL CAP put HUD's Rural Housing and Economic Development Program to work doing the outreach to find the new homeowners and to prepare them for homeownership through financial fitness classes and homeownership construction workshops.
So on that September day, joining the housing partners, Kenai Borough Assembly members and other local dignitaries from Alaska's Kenai Peninsula, eight prospective new homeowner families took beribboned shovels in hand and dug the first hole in the ground. Next spring, there will be eight new, energy-efficient, affordable homes � all built with sweat equity � standing where the ceremony took place.