CAHI client got her house despite 'nerve-wracking' experience

For Christy McCrosky, getting her own home through the Citizens for Affordable Homes Inc., self-help program was not an easy process.

"The good thing is that I got a house, but it was pretty much a fight," she said.

McCrosky, who built her home about a year and a half ago, said she felt she was not dealt with entirely honestly by CAHI employees, especially former CEO Ron Trunk.

"There was a lot of dishonesty on their part," she said. "When you build a house with someone like that and you have questions, you want someone to support you, and that wasn't the case."

She said she was beginning the process when she discovered Trunk had past convictions for theft, and that colored her perception of him and the program, especially after CAHI instituted a "recapture" fee.

McCrosky said Trunk created a policy where the homeowner has to agree to pay a certain amount of money back to CAHI if they sell their home before five years passed.

"He was very insistent on getting us to sign it (the recapture agreement)," she said. "... We had to sign it or we wouldn't get a house."

Trunk could not be reached for comment Thursday.

McCrosky said she asked for a meeting with the board and a USDA Rural Development representative, but "Trunk was the only one who showed up."

She said the program involved a group of prospective homeowners helping build each other's homes under the supervision of CAHI employees, some of whom she thought were more effective than others.

It took her group seven months to complete her 1,166-square-foot home in Dayton.

"You are in a group and every homeowner has to help," she explained. "There were three houses, so you would work on everyone's house at the same time. You are helping your neighbor out and in the end all houses have to be completed before anyone moves in."

McCrosky felt that was one of the good parts of the program, as it allowed neighbors to become close and depend on one another.

But she said the financial dealings were worrisome.

The mortgages are provided by USDA Rural Development, and the down payment assistance came from Western Nevada HOME Consortium.

During the construction period, she said, homeowners meet with CAHI accountants once a month to go over the bills for building materials, and the homeowner signs the paperwork while the accountant writes and signs the checks.

"It's all with CAHI, and as it goes down, they keep paying the bills," she said. They write all the checks. That's why as a homeowner it's so nerve-wracking, because they are in charge of your loan money."

She said one of her neighbors didn't get a monthly meeting, but one after six months, and he had to go over a great deal of paperwork with the CAHI accountant.

"We've all had the same experience, but you deal with it and get through it," she said. "We just made sure when we went to sign our paperwork that we read every single page and if something was weird we asked the accountant. We kept a close eye on everything."

• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at kwoodmansee@nevadaappeal.com or 881-7351.

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