ST. GEORGE (ABC4 News) – As many families struggle to afford Southern Utah homes, a self-help housing program may offer them a solution.
A local non-profit in St. George called “Self-Help Homes” is working with families who are willing to build their own homes in exchange for a $500 down payment and an affordable low-interest 33-year mortgage.
After putting in 35 hours of labor a week for a year to build his own home, Toquerville resident Chase Bosshardt said the “Self-Help” program changed his life for the better.
“We’re definitely happy that we’re done with the program, and we’re definitely happy that we did do it and stuck through it,” said Toquerville resident Chase Bosshardt.
Bosshardt was part of a group of seven families in Toquerville and La Verkin who took part in the “Self Help” program and completed construction on their homes last month.
He said he and his wife struggled to find an affordable first-home in St. George, so they were willing to put in long hours.
“It’s actually my and my wife’s first house that we’ve lived in and bought, and it’s also the first house that we built together,” said Bosshardt.
Staff at Self-Help Homes said the United States Department of Agriculture provides the mortgage loans and families contribute 70% of the labor, completing the framing, painting, and roofing, and even installing doors and cabinets.
“They’re beautiful homes,” Self-Help Homes housing specialist Julie Lindquist said. “They’re well built with high-quality materials and are very energy efficient.”
Lindquist said any family whose income qualifies and who currently do not own a home is eligible to participate. She said the families work together to build each other’s homes, creating a tight-knit community.
“They’ve kinda got a built-in community going there, and that’s a really cool part of the program,” said Lindquist.
Staff said none of the families could move in until work on all of the houses was completed, and in just a few weeks, a group of seven families in Toquerville will break ground on their homes.