US-MIDB deal expands housing options

Marshall Islands and US officials signed a new Self-Help Housing program agreement earlier this month. Marshall Islands Development Bank Managing Director Amon Tibon (right) and US Ambassador Karen Stewart (center) signed, as MIDB board members, including Luanne Bing (left) looked on.


The US Embassy is providing a $360,000 grant for the Mutual Self-Help Housing Technical Assistance project, managed by the Marshall Islands Development Bank in partnership with the USDA Rural Development program.The funding continues a project that has assisted over 100 families build their homes from the foundation to the roof.

US Ambassador Karen Stewart and MIDB Managing Director Amon Tibon were on hand at the signing ceremony last Friday. The project will operate with additional funding of $9,421 that each housing applicant contributes. The US Embassy states that this investment will help homeowners though the Mutual Self-Help method of home construction with MIDB identifying homebuyers to work in small groups and build each other’s homes, and as the homebuyers do much of the work, they develop “sweat equity,” reducing the overall cost of their home.

Through this project, 18 new homes will gain construction support. This is estimated to cover a period of a year and a half to two-years, Tibon said.
Low-income families who qualify for funding are divided into two groups consisting of nine households. The ongoing work involves only Majuro houses at the moment. MIDB was able to identify housing recipients on Wotje in the past, but is not currently offering the Self-Help program there. MIDB is looking forward to include Self-Help houses on Ebeye in the next round, added Tibon.

Once the 18 houses are built on Majuro, there will be a total of 150 households completed under the project.

Read more about this in the June 28, 2019 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.