28 years of building affordable housing, developing ownership, creating equity and fostering skills.
Our Family’s Story by Larry Wooldridge
At first, I thought it was a Habitat for Humanity program. I called and they said they weren’t building in Amity. Then I saw the Yamhill Community Development Corporation ad in the paper and called. We were living in Amity at the time and wanted to own a home here. With four kids, we hadn’t been able to save for a down payment. So we thought this was the best way to do it. We applied, and it’s been the best thing yet.When we started the process, all the paperwork seemed a little overwhelming. However, our desire to have a house was very strong. We had to do a lot of loan processing stuff, and within a month we’d accomplished everything we needed. That’s how important it was to us. It was busy and a lot of things to do, but nothing was insurmountable. The physical labor was nothing; that was the easy part. You’re building a house… your house! We never woke up in the morning and thought “we don’t want to go today”. Never. It’s a great experience. You’re building your home, and that goal keeps you moving!I work full-time, and I’m also a volunteer fire fighter. Nicole is a full-time mom. We have four kids ages 7, 6, 5 and 2. Family helped and supported us by watching the kids, getting lunches ready, all kinds of stuff. We did realize, though, that even if Nicole didn’t have the opportunity to help build and she had to stay home with the kids, it was still an achievable goal. I could have come up with the required 35 weekly hours myself, but the support made it so much easier.
During the application process, we told ourselves it was going to be hard. Friends warned us it could be a strain on our marriage and our family, but we knew we could do it. It was an achievable goal for our family. We’d heard people say, “if you can build a house together, then your marriage can survive anything.” So, we were waiting for the worst. We weren’t having a house built, we were building the house. Maybe that’s what made it easier, I don’t know. We were always expecting the worst and it never came.
The group environment is great. It’s not just your excitement. You’re sharing everybody’s excitement through the entire process. Since you’re building each house in different stages, it seems like there’s always someone’s excitement to feed off of.
We wouldn’t think twice about doing the program again. It was a great opportunity. However, if we were to ever sell this house we would want to build our own house. Between friends that are contractors and this program, we gained enough knowledge and confidence to take on the challenge of building on our own.