Affordable housing group coming to Greencastle

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot
Tia Reed (left), a new homeowner in Shippensburg, is shown with IHA staff member Sheri Huber.

Interfaith Housing Alliance, which is currently planning projects in the Greencastle area, had a “Move In Day” for six homeowners in Shippensburg Friday, June 24, to highlight the program which provides affordable housing.

The entire 39-lot North Middle Springs Estates subdivision in Shippensburg features the efforts of families working to build their own and each other's homes through a partnership between U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Home Program (USDA) and Interfaith Housing Alliance (IHA).  Participants commit to completion of a homeownership financial counseling course and 30 hours per week of work on the houses for each family on the team. Each team can take 9-12 months to finish their project. Mutual Self-Help Homeownership participation requires hard work and endurance.

Families buy their homes at cost and, in lieu of a down-payment, contribute their labor. No one moves in until all of the houses for the team are complete. For the past nine months, each of them worked regular jobs and then worked an additional 30 hours a week on six homes that were constructed simultaneously. Both men and women used power tools and sweat to, among other things, install siding, do framing and trimming, hang doors and install banisters. Construction supervisors Steve Wivell and Dave Schweinsberg aided the team with their expertise in overseeing the construction of these self-help homes.

Moving day is an emotional end to the process and the ultimate beginning of a new life.

This summer, IHA will be beginning with the final six homeowners to complete the subdivision.

The organization is also building 18 homes through the Self-Help Program at Nottingham Meadows, in the Greencastle/State Line area and 14 homes are being built in partnership with Dan Ryan Builders in the Rolling Hills subdivision, near Greencastle.

As one homeowner said,  “Interfaith housing is a program that allows families the opportunity to make home owning come true, but it is up to you to make it your reality.”

Interfaith Housing Alliance (IHA) was founded in 1990 after a group of concerned faith and community leaders held a meeting to address the growing need for affordable housing in Western Maryland. Today, IHA is the region's leading non profit affordable housing developer, serving central and Western Maryland and South Central Pennsylvania.  IHA's mission is to strengthen communities by providing affordable housing opportunities and supportive services to improve the quality of life and economic stability of seniors, working families and individuals. For the past 20 years, IHA has developed over 1,100 units of affordable housing.

For information, call 717-414-5042 or visit