TRULY Making Dreams Come True: C-SCDC's Home Ownership and Asset Development Center

The Crawford-Sebastian Community Development Council (C-SCDC) serves as an outstanding example of how a community action agency literally opens up doors to improve the lives of community residents.  Helping You Build a Brighter Future is the motto of the agency’s Home Ownership and Asset Development Center (HOC).  The HOC features a multi-pronged approach to help low-income families (a) gain safe and affordable housing and (b) also become involved with saving to buy or repair a home, start or expand a business, or further their education.


The Stories People Tell

The HOC has helped thousands of families in Crawford and Sebastian counties. Yet, this vital work goes beyond the impressive numbers that can be cited.  Some examples of compelling personal stories are showcased through a series of Home Ownership Center videos produced by C-SCDC.[1]  Here are a few of the testimonials:


  • Housing Counseling Services – A formerly homeless single father who became a homeowner and expresses how his credit was bad and with them helping out…now I’m living in the house that I always wanted.
  • Homeless Assistance – A formerly homeless women states how her family was completely homeless with absolutely no resources and that they didn’t know what we were going to do…There was no hope for tomorrow for us until we found out about you guys [C-SCDC].
  • Individual Development Accounts – A small business owner conveying how C-SCDC was a dream come true for me as a small business owner looking to expand.
  • Mortgage Default Counseling Program – A woman who was unable to keep her job due to serious health issues was able to avoid foreclosure proclaims how it’s a helpless feeling when you’ve been able to take care of yourself and then all of a sudden your put in a position where you can’t take care of yourself.  Now I’m grateful there’s agencies like you all around…I can breathe, it felt like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders…It’s like I have peace again.
  • Self-Help Mutual Housing Program – The wheelchair-bound young man who contracted polio at an early age who has worked hard to overcome his disability and became actively involved in building his own house shares how the opportunity came to build my own house, I was kind of hesitant at first.  But then after thinking about it, I was like I want to jump all over it, so we did it and it was a great experience Without C-SCDC I really don’t know what I’d be doing or what I could have done to help myself be more independent.[2]
  • Home Rehabilitation Program – A woman describes how both she and her husband are disabled and how it’s hard to exist every day when the things in your house need to be fixed and you don’t financially have the money and you physically can’t do it.  I think it’s wonderful that you find somebody [C-SCDC] who’s willing to come in and do the things that you can’t.


C-SCDC has been an essential leader and resource helping create many more with stories like these.  The agency acknowledges that it takes strong partnerships within a community to really make a difference in support of a common goal:


The goal is more than just houses.  This goal is for people of different incomes, people with diverse backgrounds, and people of different races and nationalities can come together and live in a community united.  We have been fortunate to build strong links with many leaders both nationally and in our community.[3]


The Multiplier Effect

As shown through data from 2008-2012, the HOC can be proud of its record in transforming lives many-times over and each one reflects another worthy story:


  • Housing Counseling – Includes foreclosure prevention program and mortgage default counseling.  143 foreclosures were prevented.


  • Educational Classes – Offers pre-purchase homebuyer education, financial management, and home maintenance classes.  1,419 were counseled in 2010 and 1,650 were counseled in 2011.[4]


  • Homeownership – Provides assistance with credit review, pre-purchase counseling, down payment and closing costs.  960 families purchased their own home through counseling and help with down payment and closing costs.[5] 


  • New Construction: Mutual Self-Help Program – Provides the opportunity for families to work together and build their own energy efficient home in a rural area.  The family contributes about 65% of the labor and when the house is completed they have about $12,000 in equity.  39 Self-Help houses were completed.


  • New Construction: Clayton Park – Creates single-family housing development with affordable, high quality energy efficient homes.


  • Housing Rehabilitation: Home Rehabilitation – Provides emergency home repairs to primarily the elderly and disabled.    127 owner occupied rehabs were completed.


  • Housing Rehabilitation: Acquisition & Rehabilitation – Acquires sub-standard homes and rehabilitates them bringing them up to state and local codes.  When completed, these homes are then sold to hardworking families or disabled individuals.  10 acquisition rehabs were completed.


  • Homeless Prevention & Rapid Rehousing Program – Provides rental assistance and places homeless families in housing.  245 households were prevented from becoming homeless and 279 homeless families were placed into housing.


  • Individual Development Accounts – Offers a 3:1 ratio of match funds for Home Repairs, Starting or Capitalizing a New or Existing business, College Tuition/Books, and Homeownership.  Participants must attend financial management classes, learn to save and then purchase a long term asset with their savings.
    • 73 participants were able to purchase homes.
    • 56 participants were able to make repairs to their homes.
    • 48 participants were able to open or expand a small business.
    • 30 participants were able to pay tuition and purchase books to further their education.


Not Resting on Their Laurels

C-SCDC’s mission is “is to make improvements in the lives of low-income individuals, families and the communities in which they live, so that a greater level of self-sufficient living can be achieved.”[6] To further this effort, the agency recently announced that has become a member the national NeighborWorks® network. 


C-SCDC Executive Director Mark Whitmer notes “we are excited that CSCDC’s 35 years of housing experience are being joined with the 35 years of technical expertise that NeighborWorks America has.  Together, we can do more than we ever thought possible.  Being a member of NeighborWorks America means our organization is top of the line and we are ready to utilize NeighborWorks assistance to do great things in Arkansas.”[7]



[2]Juan Carlos Gabriel was the recipient of the C-SCDC’s 2010 Weldon Ramey Resilience Award given to a person who has faced adversity and triumphed and has persevered through hardships – see River Valley Development Awards from the C-SCDC newsletter, August 2010.

[3]2011 HOC Annual Report – see page 6 for list of partners

[4]Data for Educational Classes is drawn from the Home Ownership and Asset Development Center’s 2011 Annual Report

[5]All data in this section, except for Educational Classes, is drawn from the following C-SCDC annual reports: 2011-2012, 2010-2011, 2009-2010, 2008-2009


This website is maintained by the National Association of Community Action Agencies – Community Action Partnership, in the performance of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Community Services Grant Number, 90ET0469 and 90ET0481. Any opinion, findings, and conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.