Families rejected by Dixie Springs find a home in Toquerville

Property where four families will start building homes the week of Dec. 22, Toquerville, Utah, December 2014 | Photo courtesy of Five County Association of Governments, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Four families enrolled in a self-help home-building program will finally be breaking ground this week in Toquerville, after their plans to build in the Dixie Springs subdivision of Hurricane were vehemently opposed by local residents.

Eight families originally sought to build in Dixie Springs through a “sweat equity” program administered by Five County Association of Governments, but at a Hurricane City Council meeting in August, residents of Dixie Springs turned out in force to vehemently oppose any “low-income” housing in their neighborhood.

 Read more: Dixie Springs residents in force protest ‘low income’ housing program

After the City Council meeting at which dozens of residents objected to plans to build the Mutual Self-Help Program homes in Dixie Springs, the group of four families and the program administrator, Doni Pack, began looking for other locations.

Pack said she did not want the negative reaction to become what people thought of the program; and so she did not push the issue either in the media or through federal anti-discrimination laws as enforced by the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity office.

It was terrible, what happened. It was very hard, and we basically had to start over again,” Pack said.

The families in the program started driving around everywhere, Pack said, looking for properties and one of the families actually found the property in Toquerville.

“Although that experience was difficult for various reasons, the families have ended up in a better situation in the end,” Pack said. “The properties in Toquerville are more beautiful, larger, have lovely views, and the existing neighbors are welcoming.”

One program participant put her application in two long years ago, Pack said, another is a decorated veteran with disabilities, and another is a single mother with four children. The delay has been difficult, she said.

“These guys are survivors,” she said.

The program participants have to work 30 hours a week for six months or more, helping build their own homes and the homes of their neighbors in the program.

By contributing the labor for 65 percent of the construction tasks, the families can obtain a low-interest loan provided directly from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Pack said. The interest rate on the loan is 4 percent or lower. Down payment and closing costs are generally included in the loan, she said.

No mortgage payments are due until the houses are completed, and house plans and work responsibility accommodations are available for those with disabilities. The homes are built to Energy Star standards and strict quality requirements, she said.

“I see this program becoming increasingly familiar to locals and expanding to help families everywhere in our five-county area. The Mutual Self-Help Housing Program is a privilege to participate in.”

The four families are breaking ground on Peachtree Drive in Toquerville this week, and a “wall-raising” celebration to lift and secure the first framed wall is set for Jan. 15 at 3 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

“The wall-raising will involve all four families raising the first framed wall onto the cement pad,“ Pack said.

The Mutual Self-Help program allows participants to build approximately 65 percent of their home, and the homes of the other families in the program. It allows participants to save money on labor costs, avoid a down payment and also receive a subsidized loan with the USDA’s rural development lending program.

“It’s called mutual self-help, because they all have to help each other build each other’s houses,” program coordinator Doni Pack said. “And no one can move in until they all have their certificates of occupancy, so from start to finish, they help each other build each other’s homes,” she said.

“We need a couple of more families for the next (group of) four that will be building in the same location,” she said.

Row of 15 homes at 200-400 S. Main Street in Ivins, all built through the Mutual Self-Help housing program, date unknown | Photo courtesy of Five County Association of Governments, St. George News
Row of 15 homes at 200-400 S. Main Street in Ivins, all built through the Mutual Self-Help housing program, date unknown | Photo courtesy of Five County Association of Governments, St. George News

Some families already qualified for the second group-build are family members of the first group, she said.

“So they are creating a whole neighborhood. You have a very nice healthy neighborhood that is created in the process.”

“Main Street in Ivins is a good example of what the program makes possible. There is a whole block or two that are all houses built through this program,” Pack said.


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  • Evil twins mommy December 23, 2014 at 11:03 am

    This is absolutely wonderful news for these families to come upon a community with open arms and concerns for their fellow human beings. This is indeed a great day for them. The community will become a stronger loving vibrant society for all those involved. Merry Christmas to everyone of you..

    • My Evil Twin December 23, 2014 at 11:24 am

      So, Li’l ZonkerBaby, do you think all of your comments and so called “wishes” for folks to have a Merry Christmas, are going to make up for the way you have run your mouth, er keyboard, for the past weeks? I don’t think so. Santa has been watching you, and has a nice big lump of coal for you. Just don’t try to eat it.

    • Shelly December 23, 2014 at 6:30 pm

      Evil Twit’s Mommy, Merry Christmas to you also! All the best in the new year, from Smelly Shelly.

  • Bev December 23, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Tis the Spirit of Christmas, NOT

    • Makelifemeaningful December 24, 2014 at 2:57 pm

      Wow Bev. You have some issues. Kind of a rude comment. Not sure what you have against these wonderful families but I am sure whatever it is, is unwarranted.

  • sagemoon December 23, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Shame on those Dixie Springs snobs!

    • Bob December 23, 2014 at 5:49 pm

      Not all the residents of Dixie Springs apposed…Some of us welcomed the idea…Lies and misconception by a few fueled a fear factor..As I mentioned many of us welcomed the families not putting ourselves above anyone, there are many good people here that shouldn’t be labeled as snobs. I would only hope others research all the facts before condemning.

      • My Evil Twin December 23, 2014 at 8:20 pm

        Bob, I’m sure you are correct. But of course it is the others that give the whole area a bad, (if not deserved,) name. I read that long drawn out post in the original article, from the fella trying to “justify” his position. All I can say is, that if you are determined to be a selfish snob, you can likely make up all the justification in the world.
        I don’t live in that area, but have owned my home for years. I don’t care WHO my neighbors are, as long as they are decent to me. That is really all that matters. Race, religion, sexual orientation, income? WHO CARES? It’s nobody’s business.

        • Leo December 24, 2014 at 5:46 pm

          Obviously you don’t have any investments.

          • My Evil Twin December 24, 2014 at 7:52 pm

            Right, I’m just a poor dumb li’l white boy who lives in poverty.

      • sagemoon December 24, 2014 at 8:29 am

        I agree with My Evil Twin. I’m glad to hear, Bob, that not everyone opposed the construction. It’s good to know there are kind-hearted people like you out there. Shame on your neighbors who are the snobs! Blessings, my friend.

        • Leo December 24, 2014 at 5:48 pm

          You have no investments either.

          • Person December 26, 2014 at 11:02 am

            Leo, really? These people invest just as much into these homes as you do. Actually, I think they invest more. THEY are the ones out there building their and their neighbors homes!! Obviously, your definition of ‘investment’ is skewed.

            These people KNOW their neighbors, they all are working together to build a community, not just a home.

            How sad to live in your world, Leo. I’m glad these people found a spot to build their homes, lives, & futures that’s not near YOU.

  • My Evil Twin December 23, 2014 at 11:22 am

    Well, well. It would appear that it wasn’t St. George that was fighting this housing, (as I was lead to believe by an “insider,) but Hurricane. Geeze, I hope all you wonderful folks who fought this, feel really good about yourselves. Don’t forget karma. . .

  • Expat from Utah December 23, 2014 at 11:53 am

    NIMBYs drive me crazy!!! Their motto, do it, but “NOT IN MY BACK YARD!” and they are usually the ones that scream the loudest about property rights and government controls; go figure????

  • U know December 23, 2014 at 11:59 am

    These are some very nice homes that they build. Shame on Dixie Springs because their property value would of gone in in just a few short years.

  • Joe Smith December 23, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    Sounds like we got some great folks out there in Hurricane. I wonder if they are mormons or “christians”.

    • Robb Willie December 23, 2014 at 1:50 pm

      Obviously you are neither, but you probably were one of the above.

      • Joe Smith December 23, 2014 at 4:44 pm

        what does that even mean?

        • Robb Willie December 24, 2014 at 1:20 pm

          Jeez, you’re stupid.

    • koolaid December 23, 2014 at 7:02 pm

      Any horse molestations as of late in that town?

      • Robb Willie December 24, 2014 at 1:21 pm

        Koolaid asked wistfully.

        • Koolaid December 26, 2014 at 12:39 pm

          Okay then, any drug busts, shootings, cat killings or other of those other behaviors we often hear about from those parts of Dixie?

          • Robb Willie December 26, 2014 at 6:25 pm

            Oh. I just assumed you were jealous.

  • C. Milner December 23, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    Shame on you people at Dixie Springs.

  • Ted December 23, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    Wow, I didn’t know Dixie Springs was a “high class ” neighborhood. I’ve been through there, I’m not seeing it. Must have missed something.

    • Diane December 23, 2014 at 9:33 pm

      Some, not all Dixie Springs residents THINK a bit more of themselves and their homes than necessary, but it’s a choice. They chose to be closed minded and bigoted…we chose not to live around a group of people who are hypocrites to say the least. There were a number of residents that made it clear to that they did not have the same hypocritical, fear mongering attitude, unfortunately the squeaky wheel gets the grease…and they are very greasy out there in Dixie Springs. Thanks to all the very kind and generous people of Almond Heights.

  • Burton December 23, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    I agree, Dixie springs is a nice area (unless you like an occasional tree) but so are the new subdivisions in toquerville. I sure wouldn’t consider any of them “high class” areas though.

    • Koolaid December 26, 2014 at 12:42 pm

      I wouldn’t consider any place with “Dixie” in its name as a high class place. The word “Dixie” can be equated with “Bubbaville” where you’d think everyone was related from marrying their cousins, aunts and uncles.

  • arts and letters December 23, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    “Low income” is an unfortunate label, particularly considering what some “high income” people have done and/or continue to do to keep themselves in that tax bracket. The refusal by Dixie Springs is a clear statement of the kind of people living in this area. It makes a great Christmas story, though. Scrooge and the Grinch exposed just in time for the holidays. Merry Christmas to the new would-be home owners; sticks and stones to the people of Dixie Springs who opposed this.

  • Matthew Sevald December 23, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    Stay classy Hurricane…..this disgusts me. Denying people their homes when they’re willing to build them themselves because they might be poor.
    Matthew 25: 35-40 “‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38 ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 ‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ ”
    Have fun entering through the eye of the needle bigots, oh, wait, that’s in the Bible and not the Book of Mormon. Guess it doesn’t apply.

  • Bek December 23, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    I Hope all of you that have made negative comment, start praying to our maker for forgiveness. Because I sure wouldn’t want to be in your shoes come judgment day.

    • Burton December 23, 2014 at 9:31 pm

      Wait a minute here, we are the judgemental ones!!!!???? So you are defending the folks who don’t want anyone in Thier neighbourhood that don’t fit the right “economic level”? Who’s judging who? You may want to reevaluate your stance on this one. Love thy neighbor doesn’t mean only if they are in your same level of income! That is unless your one of the ones who live in Dixie springs. I am blessed enough to live in an extremely nice home in a southern utah community and my next door neighbor lives in a modular. Not down the road, right next property. I am no better than he is and we both work very hard. He keeps his yard nice and is a great person. The ONLY difference is he has extra money at the end of the month to go do things with his family while I pay a healthy house payment. Again, who’s judging who?

    • Diane December 23, 2014 at 9:35 pm

      The bible says to be forgiving of our fellow man, that is not a problem. However, it is not our forgiveness that is needed.

    • beenthere December 23, 2014 at 9:48 pm

      The bible tells us to be forgiving of those who wrong us, that is not a problem. However, it is not OUR forgiveness that they need to be worried about.

  • My Evil Twin December 23, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    Here is hoping that the prevailing winds in Dixie Springs waft ever so continually over the sewer ponds, bringing the aroma of sewage to that subdivision, for many years to come. May you all breath deeply, and take in that pungent aroma!

  • Sunnygurl December 23, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    It sounds like a bunch of star bellied sneetches in Dixie Springs! I wouldn’t want to live there after hearing about this. Shame on them! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBCUkdd57qc

  • Bob December 23, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    Gather facts first then speak intelligently…Dixie Springs is taking some a lot of negative….Some are slamming a religion..I wonder which stone they are casting the first or the second…There is so much more to this story than is bring printed..I know I was involved in these families procuring their properties…..But it’s all good if casting stones helps you sleep.

  • truth December 23, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    I wonder how many where LDS that protested

  • Housing Rights December 23, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    With all the negative stories in the press, I am glad to hear about these families beginning to build their homes. Let’s focus on the “joy of the season” and let go of the past. Congratulations, families, and may 6 months into the new year find you opening the doors to your very own new homes!

  • koolaid December 23, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    Probably all of them were of that “we accept everyone ” religion

    • Burton December 23, 2014 at 9:37 pm

      “Accept everyone” yeah right. Have a beer in this “Dixie” and see how many looks you get. Won’t be staying here for very long. Can’t wait till utah in the rear view! (Oh, and I moved here from northern utah. Isn’t much different there either)

      • Leo December 24, 2014 at 2:34 pm

        Don’t let the state line hit you in your a** as you leave.

        • Burton December 25, 2014 at 8:50 am

          Another good ol’ accepting utah! Way to prove us right!

        • Person December 26, 2014 at 11:09 am

          Leo, my goodness. Please stop spreading your hate. This is why people outside of this state make fun of it! Because of attitudes like yours. Please seek forgiveness from your unaccepting ways…

  • Makelifemeaningful December 23, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    So here we are, almost 6 months later for a new beginning
    And good news instead of pitch forks and insults. Finally able to provide a home for my child. Stability and hope.

  • Meanie December 24, 2014 at 6:56 am

    There a great deal of misconceptions here. For any of these people making statements about my or anyone in Dixie Springs religious beliefs are ludicrous! Religion had nothing to do with the opposition of these sweat equity homes being built. The issue was that they would devalue the property of those already having built homes here. That is it…the bottom line. I cannot for the life of me understand why there are so many clearly childish people making nasty comments. All I have to say is that you need to grow up and actually get the facts before you run your mouths! You people look like little children on a playground! I am thankful that I don’t live near the majority of you people given your lack of maturity I can just imagine what your children will grow up to behave like! Unbelievable that adults would behave like you all are making nasty comments! Don’t bother to try to banter with me…I only came upon this article by accident and I don’t intend to look any further at your insidious remarks!

    • My Evil Twin December 24, 2014 at 8:23 am

      You don’t intend to look any further, because you just might be forced to recognize the truth within you. Justify, justify, justify, some of you folks are pretty dog gone good at that. Wonder how you will justify come the day of reckoning. No matter what your religious beliefs, or non beliefs are, it will come to you.

    • Joe Smith December 24, 2014 at 12:33 pm

      He makes a good point here. The majority of religious people have always been total hypocrites, whether mormons or “christians”, and in the end he says it’s basically just all about the money, so I guess in his own little way he preaches the truth…

    • Makelifemeaningful December 24, 2014 at 3:15 pm

      The bottom line wasn’t about devaluing homes. If that’s all it was there would not have been degrading insults towards the innocent families who just want a home for themselves and their children or threats against them if they built. I doesnt matter. The families are good people with strong family values and happy to not build in Dixie Springs. In the end, Toquerville is a very nice family oriented area. It’s quiet and peaceful. These families will be spending their free time physically building their homes from the heart with love and promise for a better future.. Spending time away from their kids and quiet moments so that their families can have stability. We all want to put Dixie Springs behind us and move forward. Dixie Springs protest has become our blessing. Thank you Dixie Springs. Best Christmas present ever.

  • concerned citizen December 24, 2014 at 11:06 am

    The Architectural Committee in Dixie Springs made it so they control who is able to move in out there by upping the min. square footage allowed in the subdivision to 1800 instead of 1600 to keep so called low income people out. They wanted to make it so that no owner builder could build out there too but that is illegal. People should have the right to live in any area they can afford to live not by the square footage of their house. It is a good thing that all the people in Washington County don’t come from out of state where they had a small expensive home and sold it and made a lot of money on the sale of their home and came here where it costs less to build and have twice the size home they use to have . I thank the city and people of Toquerville for not protesting these homes and just for the fine residents of Dixie Spring the lots a bigger and the views are better and they don’t have to worry about the smell of the sewage ponds down the road when the winds picks up and the rift raft that invade Sand Hallow in the summer time.

    • Leo December 24, 2014 at 2:32 pm

      Concerned so called citizen, you’re too funny!

      • beenthere December 24, 2014 at 7:10 pm

        I am confused LEO, what is it that Concerned Citizen said that is too funny? THE TRUTH? Every word about the architectural committee is true isn’t it? Haven’t they done exactly that? Raised the square footage so that “less desired” people who can’t afford a larger home won’t move into their community? Isn’t it true that the smell of the sewage ponds down the road when the winds pick up blow towards D.S? I believe their were a number of folks from another state that stated they were able to sell their “small” homes at a great profit which allowed them to buy bigger? And according to the attitude of the residents of D.S, there MUST be “rift raft” that find their way into your community during the summer. So what’s so funny? All of that is true, so where’s the humor? Oh…it must be in the fact that these people have found a nicer, richer neighborhood to build their homes. That their lots are so much bigger than those in D. S? Or the simple fact that ignorance from D. S residents seems to be alive and doing well? Seems to me that anyone who is able to determine the quality of a neighborhood before investing all that time and money are MUCH better off.

        • leo December 26, 2014 at 9:01 pm

          Beenthere….wth don’t you get? Ever heard of the word covenants? DS has them, you just learned something. Covenants are there for a reason. Ummmm…..wonder why? Get educated on the subject before you talk.

  • Steve December 24, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    This is a great program for helping people obtain a home for their family’s future. One of my cousin’s children has benefited from this helpful program. Doni, you are a blessing to these people, and you handled the cranky people in Hurricane well. The homes you are adding along with the hardworking residents are making our communities better places to live.

  • Teresa Wall December 24, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    We have an entire subdivision with those USDA Sweat Equity houses here in Mesquite and the people that live there are hard-working nice people. We even have police officers in that subdivision. Get off your high horses people. Where are your hearts and kindness? Hopefully one day someone will return the same favor to you. You will only deserve what karma has to dish out to you. Thanks Toquerville you will truly be blessed.

  • Burton December 25, 2014 at 8:55 am

    Looks like leo probably lives in Dixie springs.

  • Person December 26, 2014 at 11:15 am

    I’m confused, what does square footage of a home prove? Not everyone needs or wants a huge home. How sad for all that think they are better because their home is BIGGER!!

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