New nonprofit builds affordable housing

A new nonprofit organization is utilizing a federal loan program to create energy-efficient homes for households with low incomes.

Affordable House for You is building 864-square-foot homes with three bedrooms, a carport and a gardening shed in the Columbia Valley area, just north of Kendall. Two homes are nearly finished and three more will be completed by this fall.

The cost of the Columbia Valley homes is $130,000. The monthly payments for a qualifying household may be as low as $384, excluding taxes and insurance, when using the U.S. Department of Agriculture-subsidized loan program.

We have made this house plan as simple, solid and energy-efficient as possible to keep the purchase price and the ongoing cost of ownership low,” said Dave Pearce, a co-founder of Affordable House for You. “They’re so well-built that we estimate energy costs during winter months at only $60-$70, well below what one might experience in a singlewide mobile home for a similar price.”

Pearce is a mortgage advisor with Neighborhood Mortgage in Bellingham and co-founder Darin Berry, who is building the homes, owns a Whatcom County construction business. They formed the nonprofit organization in order to take advantage of a USDA rural housing program, which requires a nonprofit group’s participation and a seller to carry some of the financing on a home sale.

Both of us have seen how difficult it can be to create truly affordable housing,” Pearce said. “This is a model that will work for a lot of places.”

The USDA program is available to a two-person household whose annual income is $19,000 to $25,750, possibly less if income is from qualifying pensions, Social Security or other government benefits. The USDA income limits are based on the number of people in the household.

In addition to the five Columbia Valley homes, Affordable House for You is looking for other lots in other areas of Whatcom County and beyond.

For more information, call Dave Pearce at (360) 220-9321 or visit


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