"We have a construction supervisor who teaches them how to build a house," said Scott Loomis, executive director of the Mountainlands Community Housing Trust. "They do about 60 percent of the labor and they work as a group. Nobody moves in till they are done. And they work on each other's houses as instructed by the construction supervisor."
Through the Mutual Self-Help Housing Program, five new homes were recently completed.
A ceremony will be held on Thursday, Jan 7. from 4 to 6 p.m. at 325 South 125 West in Kamas to celebrate the completion of the homes, and to hand the owners their new house keys. The public is invited to attend.
"We will leave the homes open for inspection, so people can come in and take a look at them to see what the product is like," said Loomis.
The group started Sept. 1, and took only about five months to build their homes.
"It's one of the quickest times we've had. And they had some winter weather there too," he said. "They are required to work 30 hours a week. That can come from the owners as well as volunteers and others to help them."
Twenty-five percent of Summit County residents who have bought homes with sweat equity have been single mothers.
"They have that nesting instinct. They want a permanent place for the kids, so they are willing to put in the work to create a home," he said.
Mountainlands Community Housing Trust works in conjunction with the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development to provide subsidized loans for qualifying families and individuals.
Loans carry interest rates as low as one percent interest, so someone who would otherwise qualify for a $150,000 loan might qualify for a $250,000 loan, Loomis said.
The homes range from 1,350 square feet to 1,500 square feet and include upgraded finishes, such as hardwoodfloors or tile.
"And when we're done with the home, there are no restrictions on them, as with some affordable housing, so the homes are market rate when they are done," Loomis said.
Potential homeowners need to make about $30,000 to afford a home through the program, though depending on family size, they can make up to about $50,000.
"If they make more money, they might not need as much subsidized interest. Even if the interest rate is not subsidized, it's very low, so it's still a very good interest rate," he said. "However, many people who inquire have credit issues," he said. "We work with them for a year or two to get those taken care of, if they are salvageable. Some are not."
Mountainlands is recruiting for the next group, which will be starting in March. To apply, contact Becky at 435-647-9719.