Self-Help Virginia

Program Contacts
Denise Ambrose
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Self-Help Virginia is a resource for small communities to meet the challenge of creating viable and affordable water and wastewater systems. The program operates within Virginia's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program and uses a problem-solving, dollar-saving approach that is outcome oriented.

The goal of the program is to utilize neighborhood talent, manpower and creativity to provide water and sewer services in areas where those services are difficult to provide through conventional means. In the process, the program stretches limited financial resources to assist more communities than would be otherwise possible. 

Applications are accepted on a rolling, open-submission basis.


To be eligible for participation in Self-Help Virginia, projects must meet the following criteria:

  • Self-Help Virginia projects are limited to no more than $350,000 in CDBG assistance;
  • the program is limited to water and sewer projects with no more than $12,500 in CDBG assistance per household connected (for water) and $15,000 per houshold connected (for sewer) served;
  • projects must use more volunteers from the community than paid workers;
  • proposals must be supported by cost estimates, which reveal a minimum of 40 percent savings over conventional contracted projects; 
  • early on in the process, at least one well-attended community meeting must occur supporting the project; and
  • survey information verifying that at least 51 percent of the proposed beneficiaries are low- or moderate-income, and signed user agreements will need to be produced.

Units of local government in non-entitlement localities are the only eligible recipients of VCDBG funding.  Localities may contract with planning district commissions, nonprofit organizations and other entities to undertake project activities.

To see a complete list of eligible localities, click here.

Program Resources