HURRICANE – Seven more families are preparing to move into new homes they helped to build through the Mutual Self-Help Housing Program.
After 10 months of construction and nearly 1,400 hours of labor contributed by each family, the group will celebrate with an open house set for Friday, Sept. 9, from 3-5 p.m. in Hurricane. The public is invited.
“These families have worked so hard to finish their homes,” Self-Help Homes spokesperson Julie Lindquist said in a statement. “We are so happy for them to finally finish up and start their new lives, in their own new homes. It’s the American dream.”
The group of families all worked together to build their new affordable homes through the Mutual Self-Help Housing Program, with the assistance of the Utah non-profit Self-Help Homes.
Self-Help Homes, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization, is based in Provo, with an office in St. George. More than 500 homes have been built in Utah, Wasatch and Washington counties through with Self-Help Homes’ assistance.
The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development. Self-Help Homes receives grants to run the program, and USDA – RD provides guidance and funds the mortgages.
The program’s advantages include a very small down payment, low interest rates, closing costs that are worked into the loan, and monthly subsidies for qualifying families. And because Self-Help Homes receives grants to administer the program, there is no profit or markup on materials. All of these factors help save money, keep costs down and make the mortgages more affordable.
“These families have shown themselves to be responsible but don’t have extra money for down payments or closing costs,” Lindquist said. “For most of them, it’s the only way they would be able to get into a home of their own, especially with the rising prices of real estate in Utah.”
To qualify for the program, families must meet income, credit and job requirements, and commit to providing 35 hours a week of labor on the homes for the 8-10 months it takes to complete all the houses in a group.
“No one can move in until all of the homes are finished,” Lindquist said. “It’s really a remarkable accomplishment to get through this grueling process of building not only a home, but a neighborhood. We are so proud of them.”
Self-Help Homes in Southern Utah is always taking applications and the waiting list is relatively short. Right now, “high priority” families are urgently needed, Lindquist said. Families of 5 or more, earning between about $49,000 and $54,750, are considered high priority.
Families who earn less but also have additional household income such as child support, Social Security, SNAP benefits, etc. may also qualify.
The public is invited to the open house at 404 N. 680 West in Hurricane Friday Sept. 9, from 3-5 p.m. A short program will be followed by tours of all the recently built homes.