Building Affordable Housing: An Organizer’s Guide

Valparaiso University Community Outreach Partnership Center,

Year: 2002

The following presents an outline of a successful model of how to produce quality, affordable housing. It is based on the experience of Project Neighbors, a small group of committed and extremely hard working people living in Valparaiso, Indiana who have dedicated themselves to being good neighbors by helping others who are challenged in a variety of ways realize a better and more fulfilling life. Constructing quality affordable housing is only part of what has been accomplished by Project Neighbors, but their knowledge and experience in building over thirty units of quality affordable housing with volunteers provides a useful model for others to follow. It should be clear from the outset that this is not a technical manual on how to construct a house. It is an outline of how to organize a group of dedicated people who have varying skills to produce quality and affordable housing with as little expense as possible. It is a manual showing how a community can utilize existing assets and come together to solve its own problems.

It is based on years of experience working with and organizing volunteers to build quality affordable housing. It has evolved as a result of successes, challenges and failures. Over the years it has become clear that certain things work and others do not. Hopefully, this guide will help you avoid practices that do not work and will give you ideas for implementing a project that will be successful in your community.