Rising housing costs are making homeownership nothing more than a dream for more and more people in our area. A Port Angeles, Washington program is helping change that.
Rob Kalfur is a DJ by trade. The only hammer he's well acquainted with is that of the "M.C." variety.
But that's not stopping him from building a future for his family.
"I'm a single dad with two kids who's just trying to make ends meet," he said.
Kalfur became a dad at 19 years old. Ten years later, he's still struggling, living in Section 8 housing but not for long.
Kalfur is now building his own home. He's part of a program that allows low-income earners to build and buy homes at a fraction of the market rate.
His down payment is simply hard work.
"I've never done this before, but it's great because you really feel like you're part of the process in creating your home," said Kalfur.
With the guidance of professionals, Kalfur works 32 hours per week – not just on his house – but his next door neighbor's and his neighbor, as well. Eight such homes are being constructed on the west side of Port Angeles right now. Each prospective homeowner must assist in building each individual house.
"There's a lot of blood, sweat, and tears that go into these homes," said Annie O'Rourke, of the Peninsula Housing Authority.
The Authority partners with the USDA to provide low-interest home loans, allowing people to purchase what otherwise would be out of reach.
O'Rourke says it's the literal "building of community" that makes the program so special.
"I think it's critical, because we're becoming so disconnected from each other. Being able to know who lives four houses down, and your kid can run down there and chat with them – and it's safe – is getting more and more important," she said.
The homeowners end up doing about 65 percent of the work. On the day Kalfur moves in he will have $50,000 in instant equity thanks to his hard work. His mortgage will be less than the average rent in town.
"It's an honor to be part of this," said Kalfur. "I can't wait for my boys to move in here and know they have a stable home."
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