LOGAN — A new program is helping northern Utah families overcome the unaffordable housing crisis. Four hundred affordable homes were just completed in Logan with a little help from the new homeowners.
Neighborhood Housing Solutions works with families to find ways to make home ownership more affordable. Through the Mutual Self Help Housing Program, they guide people through a process that allows them to buy a home at a reduced price and interest rate by putting a lot of the work in themselves.
Ten homes in a Hyrum neighborhood were just completed through the program. Each household is required to spend at least 35 hours per week helping with construction on their own home and other homes in the community.
The work the families do in the project replaces the down payment, and the organization says the monthly payments are no more than 33 percent of the homeowner’s income.
Jake and Katie Netzley moved into their home Thursday afternoon. They were expecting their third child while living in a two-bedroom apartment when they knew they would need to find a house. Traditional loans, they said, were out of reach. This program created a pathway that worked for them. It was not easy, they said.
“Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday night from 4 to 9:30 p.m., and then 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays,” Jake Netzley said. “Long days. It’s cold, cold in the winter, hot in the summer, but just pushing through it and making sure we’re on the same page and pushing for the same goal.”
None of the homeowners may move into their homes until all of them are finished, so the neighbors create strong bonds along the way.
“You’re invested in your neighbors’ houses. I feel like we would watch out more for our neighbors’ houses more than we would normally because it’s like, ‘Oh, well, I helped build that basement, so I don’t want that basement to flood’,” Katie Netzley said.
The 10 homes completed in Hyrum are just the first stage of a project there. Eventually, organizers plan to have 208 homes built on an 80-acre piece of land.
Thursday afternoon, state and local leaders celebrated the program’s 400th home in northern Utah. The program is only available in rural areas, but organizers hope to one day have a similar program for people along the Wasatch Front.