Two new homes for impoverished families may soon be under construction on land donated by two Utah County cities to Habitat for Humanity.
Habitat organizers hope to start building a 1,000-square-foot, two- or three-bedroom home by early May in northeast Orem. Construction of a home in south Provo will be under way in the near future. To date, the group has raised about $8,000.Organizer George Barrus said that is about enough to get the hammers flying.
"We've really had to struggle for our first funds," Barrus said. "People don't know if we're for real yet or not."
City officials believe in the program.
"It's a really good organization," said Randy Jepperson, a Provo housing redevelopment specialist. As a volunteer, non-profit organization, Habitat has no administrative costs.
Provo intends to give Habitat $120,000 in HOME funds it will receive this year from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. HOME is a federal program designed to provide decent, affordable housing for low-income families. Springville will contribute $40,000. Orem and Payson cities may also donate a portion of their HOME funds.
All four cities belong to the Utah Valley Consortium of Cities and County that will divide $1.2 million in federal housing money.
Frank Flake, a Habitat organizer, said a committee has selected a family to occupy the Orem home. It will also choose a family for the house in Provo. Single parents who can't pay high rents will receive the most consideration. Monthly payments will be in the $150 range.
Habitat wants to provide the homes to needy families for minimal or no down payments. Recipient families must, however, do at least 500 hours in sweat equity work on the home they receive.
Habitat for Humanity was formed nearly 16 years ago under President Jimmy Carter. It has built or rehabilitated more than 10,000 houses in that time.
The Utah County affiliate was organized last October. About 40 volunteers have been working with Habitat since its formation.