Dreams of homeownership are coming true in Great Falls' newest subdivision, Meriwether Crossing! Last week, we celebrated twenty new homeowners at the Dream Street Open House event. Ten of these families completed their homes and moved in this spring, and ten more will wrap up construction later this year. Each group consists of ten families who put in over 1,200 hours of sweat equity through building not only their own, but nine other homes together. One core piece of the Owner Built Homes – no family can move in until all ten homes are complete. Once the second group of builders finishes construction this year, a total of 155 homeowners will have gone through the Owner Built Homes Program in Great Falls through NeighborWorks.
Kara Emery, a first-time Owner Built homeowner and single mom, spoke about her experience at Dream Street, “The best part about this Owner Built community is knowing all your neighbors. They’re all looking out for you, and we can walk down the street and have a picnic on the lawn. This journey has been truly rewarding because now I obviously have my own house. I can build my own fence, have my own garden, my daughter can explore her own style in her bedroom and have fun with the neighbor kids and I don’t have to worry.”
NeighborWorks Owner Built Homes program is a part 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. Keelie Lorenz, a soon-to-be Owner Built homeowner will complete construction on her home in just a few months. At Dream Street, Keelie spoke about having a safe space for her daughter and how it will all be worth it in the end. “It’s been a long, hard process but I’m really grateful for NeighborWorks and this opportunity that will allow my daughter to have her own home to grow up in.”
To learn more about the program please visit our website, https://www.nwgf.org/ownerbuilthomes.
To see KRTV coverage of the event, visit https://www.krtv.com/news/great-falls-news/neighborworks-great-falls-hosts-dream-street-block-party.