After a long, but rewarding year 10 local families will celebrate achieving their dream of home ownership in September. These families embarked on NeighborWorks Great Falls’ Owner Built Homes program last summer and have been working 30 plus hours a week for a year to not only complete their home, but each others homes. A key piece of the program being that no one can move in until all the homes are completed. The completion of these eight homes will mark 135 Owner Built Homes in Great Falls through NeighborWorks.
Last week, we celebrated these families at our annual “Dream Street Open House”. Supporters, partners, volunteers and families were able to tour the homes and hear from this year’s group on their challenges, triumphs and excitement for the future. Soon to be homeowner, Leslie Davis shared her experience as a single mom coming together with a group of strangers to build a better future for not only her family, but nine other families. “Going into this program we were just 10 families that all got to take place in building each other’s homes. We had no idea who one another were, and probably never would have because we all come from such different lifestyles. Now what are we? We are more than neighbors. We are Friends! We are a real-life dream street.”
NeighborWorks Owner Built Homes program is apart of the national Mutual Self Help Housing program, funded by USDA Rural Development. Through this program qualified buyers earn substantial equity by working with a group of other families to help build their own homes. Their labor is called “sweat equity” and it can make homes affordable. Hard work is the key to this project, along with a desire to work together to build a community and new homes. Leslie said it best, “This is so much more than just another program. For me alone, it is a fresh start, a dream, an opportunity, a learning experience, and mostly a goal. So instead of calling it a program I’m going to settle with calling it an opportunity”. To learn more about this opportunity please visit our website, www.nwgf.org/ownerbuilthomes