Building for the future

Program offers chance to own home

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— No pain, no gain.

People who wish to participate in a federal program that will make home ownership in Steamboat Springs a reality must throw their back into it -- literally.

The Regional Affordable Living Foundation is bringing the Mutual Self-Help Housing Program to the Yampa Valley. The seven families who qualify to participate will build their own homes.

It's not for the faint of heart.

"People have to work for it," RALF Executive Director Ellen Hoj said.

Lower income households in Routt County are encouraged to attend one of two presentations about the program tonight.

An informational meeting runs from 4 to 8 p.m. in the third floor conference room of Bogue Hall at Colorado Mountain College.

Presentations begin at 4 and 6 p.m.

Hoj hopes to see a good turnout of people interested in cashing in a little sweat equity for a house of their own.

A commitment is not necessary tonight, but attendance at the meeting is the first step to getting onboard, Hoj said.

Participants cannot already own a home and must meet income guidelines, have good credit and enough income to repay the loan.

A single person cannot make more than $36,749 annually. A two-person household should bring in less than $41,999. Three and four-person households must make less than $47,249 and $52,499, respectively.

Three duplexes and one single-family home are planned in West End Village.

Construction is slated to begin in the fall, and no one would move in until every home is completed.

Participants provide 60 percent of the labor on their homes and their neighbors' homes. That means people must commit their spare time to construction.

People in the program are really building a neighborhood, said Rob Dick, RALF's former executive director.

Hoj stressed that the first seven families through the door tonight are not guaranteed a spot in the program. It could take 70 applications to determine who will participate. And RALF is looking for another 11 families to commit to building their own homes in 2004.

Information packets about the program are available at Hillside Village Apartments' office at 605 Tamarack Drive.

-- To reach Danie Harrelson call 871-4203

or e-mail dharrelson@steamboatpilot.com

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