-by Staff Writer – Payson Chronicle
Thursday, August 22, 2013, was an exciting day for Self-Help Homes (SHH) and nine families who broke ground for their new Mutual Self-Help Homes. The groundbreaking ceremony was held at the Crestview Estates Subdivision in Elk Ridge City. This group of nine families will be working together for six to eight months to build each other’s homes.
Self-Help Homes is a non-profit organization created to help income eligible families achieve the dream of home ownership. 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 ten months, each group works under the direction of a Construction Supervisor and contributes more than 65% 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-bath and measure approximately 1400 square feet of finished space with a full-unfinished basement.
The mortgages can range from $200,000 to $210,000 and are administered through the U.S. Department of Agriculture–Rural Development. USDA-RD structures the payments on mortgages to be affordable.
The Mutual Self-Help Housing program has been in operation in Utah and Wasatch Counties for 13 years, having built over 300 homes in Payson, Salem, Santaquin, Saratoga Springs, Eagle Mountain and Heber City. Twelve more homes are currently under construction in Heber City and Saratoga Springs. Self-Help Homes is currently gathering families for future groups to start soon. These homes will be built in Elk Ridge and Heber City.
To become eligible for the program, an applicant must have low debt, good credit, enough income to qualify for a mortgage with USDA-Rural Development, 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 (i.e. a family of four must earn less than $53,700 per year).
Anyone interested in receiving more information about the Mutual Self-Help Housing program is encouraged to call Self-Help Homes at (801) 375-2205 and ask for Karen or Janet. Information can also be obtained on our website at: www.selfhelphomes.org.