Steamboat Springs The Regional Affordable Living Foundation will hold an educational meeting tonight on a federally funded self-help housing program.
RALF is seeking families for the program, which allows families to buy homes through sweat equity. Tonight's meeting will cover who can qualify and the labor involved in building the homes.
Heidi Nunnik-hoven, the program's family coordinator, said the group likely will go through about 200 families before finding the seven needed to launch the program. Finding families in the right income category, with good credit and the time it takes to build the homes will take time, Nunnikhoven said.
The program's income guidelines require that a single person household make less than $36,749 annually, a two-person household less than $41,999, a three-person household less than $47,249 and a four-person household less than $52,499.
Participants cannot already own a home and must have good credit and enough income to repay the loan, which may be at an interest rate as low as 1 percent.
"This is for those who really can't qualify any other way and do have good credit and a fine debt ratio," Nunnikhoven said.
Families enrolled in the program provide 60 percent of the labor to build three duplexes and one single-family home in West End Village. No one moves in until every home is completed.
Nunnikhoven said because the owners help build the homes, mortgage payments are much less than the other RALF homes in RALF's West End Village project.
"I think because the mortgage is so much less it is a lot easier to qualify," Nunnikhoven said. "You are completing the labor cost. It is a huge difference."
The time commitment is significant for the homeowners. Nunnikhoven said each family is expected to put in 30 hours a week until the project is completed. Construction should take five to eight months. The program also will provide training for the homebuilders.
RALF has two families that are going through the lending process. Other families are going through the pre-application process.
When RALF gets the seven families, it can submit a grant application to the United States Department of Agriculture and construction can start soon afterward. RALF is hoping to break ground by late September.
The USDA grant should be for at least $200,000 and is intended to completely fund the mutual self-help housing program. The program is to be continuous with a new set of families starting a project every two years.