Families sought: SEICAA recruiting for Self-help housing project

BLACKFOOT — Five families in Blackfoot or Aberdeen may have the opportunity to build their own homes under a program offered by the Southeastern Idaho Community Action Agency.
SEICAA is recruiting five families to participate in the Mutual Self-Help Housing program. Under the program, the families work together to build their own homes under the supervision of an experienced construction supervisor.
“They’re learning the skills to build their own home,” SEICAA Affordable Housing Director Shalynn Perisol said.
Families also undergo pre- and post-construction training to increase their financial literacy, helping them understand the importance of saving, the terms of their loan and the importance of maintaining their home.
Participating families are required to spend at least 35 hours a week constructing their home and must provide 65 percent of the labor on the homes. They will do the framing, sheet rock, painting and everything that does not require a licensed professional. Construction will take approximately one year.
“It is a time commitment, but it is worth it in the end,” Perisol said.
Participants qualify for low-interest, fixed-rate mortgages through the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development. By building their homes, they get $22,000 instant “sweat equity” when they move into their homes. The labor contribution becomes the down payment.
“It’s assisting in bringing down the cost of the home,” Perisol said.
To qualify, households must meet income guidelines, which is 80 percent of area median income. In Bingham County, a family of four cannot make more than $48,150 annually to qualify.
Participants must also be able to legally enter into a contract, may not have a bankruptcy in the past 36 months, should have reasonable credit history and must be renting or own sub-standard housing.
Because the families are building their homes alongside their neighbors, they are instantly creating a neighborhood community.
“It builds your neighborhood,” Perisol said. “You already have neighborhood connections.”
For more information on the Mutual Self-Help Housing Program, contact Perisol at 232-1114 ext. 108. More information is also available online at www.seicaa.org.