That's the strategy of the Yamhill Community Development Corporation, an Oregon non-profit. It helps qualifying families build their own houses, with licensed contractors handling the tricky stuff (like wiring and plumbing) and the families working 35 hours a week on things like "painting, landscaping, trim work, siding and some framing." While Yamhill helps them get loans, the families' contributions are primarily "sweat equity." The mortgages are financed through the US Department of Agriculture.
Maybe we could try it here. After all, nobody's accusing Seattle of having an abundance of affordable housing. And it seems our mayoral candidates could use some more specific proposals--so there's one for free. (via Sightline Daily)