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Nonprofit housing group marks 215th home

SMITHFIELD (Herald Journal) — Brooks Van Orden and Kassi Nyquist offered their very first house guests chocolate chip cookies at an open house sponsored by the Neighborhood Nonprofit Housing Corporation as part of the Mutual Self Help Housing program Wednesday.

The couple and their 3-year-old daughter, Anika, now call their Smithfield house a home where they plan to stay for many years to come.

The two started building their residence in September while simultaneously helping about six other families construct their homes on the same street near 600 West and 200 North.

Local and federal government officials, state Sen. Lyle Hillyard and Smithfield Mayor Darrell Simmons came together to commemorate the completion of the 215th self-help home - a first for any Neighborhood Nonprofit Corporation in the state.

The program, through the United States Department of Agriculture/Rural Development, is administered by NNHC and makes housing affordable through sweat equity. Eight families work together as a group under the guidance of a construction supervisor to build approximately 65 percent of their homes. The labor serves as the down-payment and can significantly reduce the purchase price of the home.

Gordon Walker, spokesman for the Olene Walker Housing Loan Fund, praised the participants for sticking with the program and working 35 hours or more each week to complete their homes.

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