-by Staff Writer – Deseret News
Payson – Ten families willing to help each other build homes broke ground on the venture Tuesday. The labor sharing effort is through a program called Mutual Self-Help Housing, sponsored by the nonprofit Rural Housing Development Corp. and the rural development arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Participating families work as a team providing sweat equity in building homes. Work on all homes must be complete before any family moves in, said Brad Bishop, executive director for the rural housing agency. Families provide 30 hours per week in labor under the direction of a licensed construction supervisor. They contribute more than 65 percent of the labor, Bishop said. The idea is to help families find affordable housing in today’s economy. The median price of a home in Utah County is $184,900 according to January sales reported by the Utah County Association of Realtors. But median income for a family of four in Utah County is $46,500 annually, meaning only 42 percent are able to buy a home, Bishop said. Participants must have low debt, good credit, sufficient income to qualify for an USDA mortgage and the willingness to share the work with other families. The applicant must also earn less than 80 percent of the area median income, which means a family of four can earn no more than $37,200 per year, Bishop said. The non-profit group expects to administer the construction of 30 homes in Payson over the next two years, he said. For information, call Bishop at the Rural Housing Development Corp. at 375-2205 or contact Kris Doty or the USDA-Rural Development Office at 377-5575, ext. 10.