Monday, August 4, 2008


A couple of weeks ago a TV show I was watching mentioned a program called "Mountain Housing Opportunities" in Asheville, NC. The show featured a young couple who had little money but were able to purchase a condo for $150,000 with payments as low as $560.00. Naturally this caught my attention so I googled "MHO" and asked for a brochure. They promptly replied to my email and said that a brochure would soon arrive.

I now have the brochure. It briefly explains the program, it's mission, and which citizens are helped. It is broken down into 10 segments, the last 2 are requests for volunteers and contributions. But MHO is all about volunteerism.

Following are brief quotes from the brochure:

"Mountain Housing Opportunities (MHO) is a private nonprofit community development corporation serving Asheville and Buncombe County. We achieve our mission through.

  1. Affordable Homeownership

  2. Rural Home Rehabilitation

  3. Community Rental Investments

  4. Emergency Home Repair

To revitalize neighborhoods, restore the environment and build the local economy, MHO works with local volunteers, churches, businesses and individual donors. By providing an improved home environment to working families and individuals, retirees, and people with disabilities, we're giving them something even greater: the opportunity to help themselves and others."

MHO helps low and moderate households purchase a home using flexible mortgage financing. The homeowners "earn' their downpayment with sweat equity, helping to build or rehab the home themselves. The financing is through the US Department of Agriculture.

In addition to home owners, MHO also has a "Community Rental Investment program...develops safe, attractive, afforadble rental homes and apartment communities for working families and individuals, retirees and people with disabilities". "Each development offiers for its residents a unique setting in a good neighborhood, with innovative architecture and design, site planning with beautiful landscaping, floor plans that are spacious and flowing, and superior amenities such as play areas, walking trails and community centers"

There is even an "Emergency Home Repair" section which makes repairs for lower income people. The repairs include electrical repairs, unsafe furnaces, handrails, plumbing or roofing problems, ramps, etc.

"MHO is North Carolina nonprofit corporation with tax-exempt status, approved by the US Internal Revenue Service to receive tax-deductible contributions under sec. 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donations to HMO are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law"

I don't know how to go about implementing something like this in New Albany but I plan to talk to as many people as possible who do have the needed knowlege. It all comes down to volunteers. Yes, many of us do a lot of volunteer work but I think we have an untapped resource. This organization will help a lot of people who maybe did not think they could buy a home. Yes we have Habitat for Humanity and CHODO but there is always room for another place for people to go for help. I believe this organization would be less restrictive and depend more on the contribution of the very people it helps. We all want to reduce the ratio of renters/homeowners. This is just another way to accomplish this goal.

I must clarify something. The condo mentioned in the first paragraph was valued at $150,000.00 but the amount of the mortgage was not mentioned. I thought at first that MHO helped with the down payment but possibly they helped with repairs or updates which raised the value of the condo. Either way this is a wonderful organization which helps a lot of people.