ST. GEORGE – If you’re not afraid of a little hard work, you may be able to make that dream of home ownership a reality. Several families are needed for a program that helps eligible families get into a home by contributing to construction labor.
The Mutual Self-Help Housing Program provides a way to get into a home, while learning construction skills and building a tight-knit community with other families.
“The building lots, homes and neighborhoods are beautiful … and you really get to know your neighbors through building with one another,” Brad Bishop, executive director of Self-Help Homes, said.
Self-Help Homes is looking for four families to complete a group of seven homes planned for the LaVerkin/Toquerville area.
“Without this program, we would never have been able to be in a home like this. It really is an amazing opportunity,” Jared Jones, who is building his home in LaVerkin, said.
With six homes in the area almost completed, Self-Help Homes is getting ready for the next group. The non-profit organization was created to help income-eligible families achieve the dream of home ownership.
Lots are currently available in the Chateau at Riverwood Estates in LaVerkin and Almond Heights Park in Toquerville. There are also a dozen lots available in Kanab; for more specific information see the Self-Help Homes webpage.
The program is designed for groups of families to work as a team and provide “sweat equity” to build all the homes within their group. All homes in the group must be completed before any family can move in.
Over a period of seven to 10 months, each group works under the direction of a construction supervisor and contributes more than 65 percent of the construction labor on each other’s homes.
Each family volunteers a minimum of 35 hours per week to carry out construction activities such as framing, roofing, painting and finish work. The homes are three-bedroom, two-bathroom and have approximately 1,400 square feet of finished living space along with a full, unfinished basement or a second floor bonus room.
Mortgages for the homes can range from $215,000 to $234,000 and are administered through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development office. Payments are structured to be affordable; interest rates can be subsidized down to 1 percent, depending on income and family size with payments as low as $750 per month.
The Mutual Self-Help Housing program has been in operation in Utah and Wasatch counties for 17 years and has built more than 400 homes in Payson, Salem, Santaquin, Saratoga Springs, Eagle Mountain and Heber City.
Self-Help Homes recently started building in the Washington County area and will be holding an open house soon for its first six completed homes.
To become eligible for the program, an applicant must have low debt, good credit and enough income – around $33,000 per year or higher – to qualify for a mortgage. They must also be willing to contribute the labor necessary for the project.
Applicants must also be income-qualified and earn less than 80 percent of the area median income for Washington County – a family of four must earn less than $54,150 per year.
Anyone interested in receiving more information about the Mutual Self-Help Housing program or about areas where lots are currently available may call Self-Help Homes at 801-375-2205 Ext. 111 and ask for Halie. Information can also be obtained on the organization’s website at www.selfhelphomes.org.
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