New home owner Corine Schweikert receives a hug from Lynne Paschal on Wednesday during a ribbon-cutting celebration for six families that participated in a self-help housing program funded by the Yampa Valley Housing Authority and a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development. The homes are located on Grandview Street above the ice rink in Oak Creek.

Photo by Tyler Arroyo

New home owner Corine Schweikert receives a hug from Lynne Paschal on Wednesday during a ribbon-cutting celebration for six families that participated in a self-help housing program funded by the Yampa Valley Housing Authority and a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development. The homes are located on Grandview Street above the ice rink in Oak Creek.

Building with a vision

Six Oak Creek families construct homes as part of self-help housing

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New home owner Corine Schweikert receives a hug from Lynne Paschal on Wednesday during a ribbon-cutting celebration for six families that participated in a self-help housing program funded by the Yampa Valley Housing Authority and a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development. The homes are located on Grandview Street above the ice rink in Oak Creek.

— When Corine Schweikert found out she had to help build her house and five of her neighbors' houses as part of a self-help housing project, she couldn't help but laugh.

"I didn't even know how to use a hammer. I literally could not hammer in a nail," she said. "Now I can do roofing, I can do cabinets, whatever."

Schweikert, her husband, Jamie, and their three children, Porter, 6, Arion, 4, and Dugan, 3 months, are one of six Oak Creek families that received a new home through the self-help housing program funded by the Yampa Valley Housing Authority and a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development.

On Wednesday, four of the families helped cut a ribbon on one of the homes to celebrate the completion of the homes. About 40 people from the housing authority, U.S.D.A. Rural Development and other local officials attended the event, which included a ribbon-cutting, refreshments and tours of the homes.

Elizabeth Black, executive director of the housing authority, congratulated the families on their hard work. As part of the program, the families were required to complete 65 percent of the labor required to build the home by spending 30 hours a week building them. None of the families were allowed to move in until all the homes were completed.

"This has been a long day coming," Black said. "Here's to the blood, sweat and tears I said this project would take. This project contained all three, but you all overcame, persevered and got your homes built."

The homes are above the Oak Creek Ice Rink on Grandview Avenue.

The six families include a wide cross-section of Routt County's population including newlyweds, single parents and a family with three children, said Curtis Church, the housing authority's self-help program manager.

The housing authority has built 21 self-help homes in Routt County including seven in Steamboat's West End Village, eight in Hayden and the final six in Oak Creek.

The goal of the project is to provide Routt County residents with affordable housing to keep them living and working in the county.

"We are supplying affordable housing to keep our county a viable place to call home," he said. "These people won't ever leave because they couldn't afford a home here."

Mike Bennett, the state director for the U.S.D.A. Rural Development, told the group Wednesday the families accomplished much more than just building a home.

"You built a community," he said.

Schweikert agreed.

"Really, this is more than just a neighborhood, it's a family," she said, as tears welled in her eyes. "There's a story behind every single one of these homes, and we know them all. We all know every stick in every home."

Andrew Schmidt echoed Schweikert's sentiment.

"There's no doubt about it, that it was hard and stressful," he said. "But it makes it all worth it to know that you built your house, and your neighbor's house, almost all by yourself."

The other homeowners include Dave Maris and Kim Brooks, Lynne Paschal, Dale Morvay and Mary Jo Farrer.

Comments

Bobbie_Dooley 7 years, 7 months ago

"I don't even know how to use a hammer..."

Sounds like you will be one damn fine responsible homeowner. No wonder you did not achive homeownership soley through your own effort.

G.D. it. Does not anyone read Ayn Rand anymore?

"These people will not ever leave because" .... they don't have their shiz-it together?

People. Please. Leave. And keep you g.d. socialist hands outta my free market economy designer handbag on your way to the road outta here g thanx.

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Bobbie_Dooley 7 years, 7 months ago

I do have friends, yes. They are all highly educated, good looking, generally wealthy and unusually fabulous. An exclusive group it is, but that is how I roll.

What the hell does that have to do with the fact that someone who does not know how to use a hammer is not likely to be a responsibile home owner unless they have sufficient economic resources to hire people to pound the hammer on their behalf, which these people do not.

I do not have --nor do I want--any friends who needed help from the general public to purchase their homes.

Again, wtf is "numb" about self-reliance? And wtf do my social connects have to do with this topic?

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Otto_Stader 7 years, 7 months ago

Clevedave is right.

A master framer/carpenter can do every job on the site. You don't appreciate him until you try to lay out rafters on something other than a straight roof.

A person who has never picked up a hammer should just stay away for their own good.

Somewhere in between, there are people with mechanical aptitudes and basic carpentry skills who can frame their own simple house from the ground up IF they have the opportunity to work with guys who know what they are doing for a few weeks. These people might not make great employees on a framing crew, but if they take their time and seek advice when needed, they can save at least 1/3 the cost of building a simple home by doing it themselves.

Owner-builder permits allow individuals to do their own electrical and plumbing installation so long as they intend to occupy the home themselves (can't be for spec, sale, rental, etc.). These are limited to one such permit every 3 years or so to prevent an unlicensed person from competing with plumbers and electricians. Also, the owner-builder must complete the job to the satisfaction of the building inspectors, and it's not always easy to do. The Routt County Building Department inspectors will answer reasonable questions and give some advice so long as you don't expect them to teach you how to do everything involved in the job. They expect you to do the reading and do the thinking in advance, and if you show that you're ignorant AND want to argue with them about their expertise, you can look forward to a miserable experience. If you don't have the ability to put together a plumbing plan that meets the code, or you can't figure out how to wire a 3-way switch and a GFCI, and don't know how many conductors are allowed to pass into and through a box, or understand the difference between a hot, a neutral and a ground, don't even try!

I have done this myself after working on a framing crew with a professional for a few months. I also did the plumbing and electrical work, and passed the inspections with only a couple of minor mods after the rough inspection.

The danger of being a first-time owner-builder is in having to tear out a bunch of stuff and redo it. That's a risk you take by trying to help yourself, and at least in my case, it paid off. I know of another case where it took $20,000 paid to a real carpenter to pass the rough inspection, but still, the owner saved at least three times that much by doing it himself.

With all due respect to Ms. Dooley, a person who takes the time and makes the effort to construct their own house gets a better product than anything put together by a crew of drug addicts and alcoholics working on a custom home. There are lots of people around town paying upwards of $700,000 for particle board houses covered with flashy "architectural details" who won't have a home as sound as one put up by the DIYs in Oak Creek.

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JazzSlave 7 years, 7 months ago

fourseasons:

Wow - the "liar liar pants on fire" postulate! What a thoughtful, cogent reply! I haven't seen name-calling like that since the second grade.

For someone who cites the Lord and encourages prayer as often as you do, you certainly seem intent on casting the proverbial stones.

It's people like you who give Christians a bad name.

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cheesehead 7 years, 7 months ago

I gotta say this is the best "affordable housing" option out there. Sure they get a free foreman, but they labored for 30 hours a week plus working their regular jobs for over a year. Seems much better than developer fees and deed restrictions. I don't understand how a group of people working hard to better their lives could anger someone so much.

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Matthew Stoddard 7 years, 7 months ago

I admit that I'm not a do-it-yourself kind of person. I'm happier for it, also. I'm feeding the economy by giving my business to a professional, I'm protecting myself if it's done improperly, and I'm able to concentrate on other things that occupy my time.

That doesn't mean I don't have respect for people who can do it themselves. I agree with cheesehead: it's a great affordable housing option.

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id04sp 7 years, 7 months ago

Kielbasa,

If you want it done right, you need to be there every day looking at the progress and making sure it's done right. Take photos as the project goes so that you can find the studs, drains, etc., when you need to.

Whatever "protection" you think you might have can disappear in a builder's bankruptcy action.

Somebody intentionally put a wood block down a drain line during one of my projects. The bathroom flooded, ruined drywall in the family room downstairs, and a big tear-out and redo was required. We never figured out if it was a plumber's helper or a drywall hanger who did it. I did remember seeing a drywaller intentionally drive a nail into a plastic drain pipe after the leak showed up -- it just took until then for me to put 2 and 2 together on what happened.

Stuff like this was why I did my own when I built one to keep. I don't have to worry about what I'll find behind a wall some day when that nasty stain shows up on the ceiling.

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Matthew Stoddard 7 years, 7 months ago

ID- I can empathize with what happened, but I've been pretty lucky in those endeavors so far. Granted, it's our first home, though.

We had my wife's "other" parents watch out for us while our house was being built. He's an retired contractor himself, so he was nice enough to point out things to us. We also check out references & our contractor had some things that weren't completely right but stood by us and fixed it or gave us money back. He's all but retired now, but was nice enough to come back to check on something we wondered about a couple months ago, 5 years after he was finished building.

Same with the harder part on our landscaping: we've done most of it ourselves. My father-in-law is the green thumb of the family. The only thing I can grow is a moustache or beard and that won't grow back in until my hair turns more gray to match the facial hair. Should be any day now! LOL!

This is also why I take my vehicle to someone I know I can trust. Way back when, I could work on my tank engine, but a car is foreign to me. That's one of the nice perks about being a 30yr local: I've had time to look around and get used to who does what in a good manner.

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id04sp 7 years, 7 months ago

Having someone to do that looking out makes a big difference. You are lucky.

My rule used to be that, when I made the second dumb mistake of the day, I quit. When measure twice, cut once, turned into measure 5 times, cut, "aw, crap," it was the end of the day. Guys on work release from the jail in Craig don't have that option. Lots of stuff happens after 3 PM when people get tired but have to keep going.

Want a real diasppointment? Install a nice "round" window over the tub and come to find out that it's not tempered glass. Six inches higher and it would have been okay. Stuff like that.

I had one really funny thing happen in a spec house. I installed a very nice tempered glass shower enclosure in a master bathroom. About a week after the owners took possession, the glass shattered spontaneously in the middle of the night. It's just something that happens sometimes when the tempering job is not done right. The vendor replaced the door, and the owners were good sports, but it's just not the kind of thing you expect to happen in a brand new house. The poor people thought we'd built the house on an Indian burial ground or something. LOL.

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