-by Staff Writer – Payson Chronicle
SANTAQUIN – The American Dream is alive and will in Santaquin today, thanks to Rural Housing Development Corporation’s philosophy that a home isn’t a luxury, that teamwork promotes unity, and that neighborhoods are safer when residents get involved. Rural Housing helps eligible families attain home ownership through sweat equity, and encourages improved housing in rural areas. This through the Mutual Self-help Program a construction supervisor oversees the owner/home builders construction of six to ten new homes in southern Utah County every several months. “Home owners work in teams to build each other’s homes,” said Brad Bishop, director of Rural Housing. “Nobody moves in until all the homes are completed.” The agency celebrated its newest project at a groundbreaking ceremony and program that took place at 112 West 550 South in the Morley Meadows Subdivision in Santaquin. “I think this is the type of program that you get back what you put into” said Kaylene Hiatt, first-time home buyer. “I personally have talked to many different people who have done this program and they swear by it.” “They have told me about how much stronger it made their families and how much they have learned and have grown. I hope we can all be the same way.” The program uses mortgages administered through the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Rural Development. The USDA-RD structures the loan repayments on mortgages to be affordable. Families are involved in every step of construction, from framing to roofing, and landscaping; to making paint, stucco and flooring choices. “We are so excited to get to know each one of you (the families) and to build a brand new home to raise our family in. We are grateful for this experience, I know it will be one that we all will never forget!” The Mutual Self-Help Housing program has been in operation in Utah County for eight years, having built homes in several cities including Southern Utah County in Santaquin, Payson and Salem. The completion of these six homes brings the total number of homes completed in Utah County to 171. To become eligible for the program, an applicant must have low debt, good credit, enough income to qualify for a mortgage with USDA-RD, and be willing to contribute the labor necessary for the project. The applicant must also be income qualified and earn less than 80% of the area median income, for example a family of four must earn less than $48,000 per year. Anyone interested in receiving more information about the Mutual Self-Help Housing program is encouraged to call Rural Housing Development Corporation at (801) 375-2205 and ask for Karen or Carolyn.