RCHA was founded in 1979 to meet the home repair needs of low-income households in a three-county area. Five years later, RCHA began administering a rental assistance program (Housing Choice Vouchers) that now assists more than 700 families each year with household incomes at 50% or less of the area’s median income.
Home Construction & HomeOwnership Program
In 1992, RCHA began our Rural HomeOwnership Program with an acquisition/rehab program, to which we then added a new home construction component. To date, the agency has developed over 200 units of single family homes, most of which were sold through a lease/purchase program to families with 80% or less of the area’s median income. RCHA hired its first construction crew in 1995. This crew built 8-10 units per year until 2007, when the crew members became employees of an affiliated non-profit organization, which continues to carry out RCHA’s mission. Although RCHA no longer directly operates this particular program, we are able to provide assistance and referrals for those who are interested in learning more about buying a home.
Home Financing Assistance
RCHA’s sister organization is HomeOwnership Center (HOC). HOC was founded by RCHA in 1998. HOC is a charter member of NeighborWorks America, providing a range of valuable services to potential home buyers, including credit counseling, home buyer education, and mortgage brokering. HOC hasassisted over 1,000 households in the past 20 years with a home purchase. To learn more: www.hocwv.org
Rentals, Property Management & Real Estate Development
In 2004, RCHA opened our first eight-unit rental project. These units are offered to income-eligible tenants at a lower-than-market rate. Now the agency offers 52 apartments in three-counties to households with lower incomes. Most properties are managed by our partner, Highland Community Builders. www.hcbpropertieswv.com. HCB also manages 60+ affordable apartments developed by our nonprofit partner, Woodlands Development Group (WDG).
RCHA continues to acquire, renovate and develop affordable housing and provides back-office support to the real estate activities of both WDG and HCB. Highland Community Builders develops single family housing at the subdivision it developed in Elkins in 2007, Highland Meadows.
Our YouthBuild Program was founded in 1995. Each year, this program serves 30 participants aged 16-24. It is a holistic program of leadership development, GED preparation, and job training designed to empower youth to pursue a rewarding path of success and self-sufficiency. YouthBuild participants learn valuable construction skills while building two units of housing during each 10-month training cycle. YouthBuild crew members can also access training for the health care field through our MedPrep program. Seventy percent of our graduates go on to secure paid employment in the community. YouthBuild North Central is an affiliate of YouthBuild USA, a nationwide group whose mission is to “unleash the intelligence and positive energy of low-income youth to rebuild their communities and their lives…”. YouthBuild crew members carry out RCHA’s community development mission by serving as AmeriCorps members during the program, providing thousands of hours of service to a wide variety of non-profit and municipal projects and agencies.
RCHA sponsors YouthBuild North Central West Virginia. This program provides local youth the opportunity to develop marketable skills while building assets that benefit our communities. YouthBuild participants have worked to increase affordable housing stock throughout our region. Since 1995, YouthBuild has provided participants aged 16-24 with vocational and educational training that has enabled a pathway for lasting career success.