Families begin construction on self-help homes in Toquerville; STGnews Videocast

TOQUERVILLE – Four families enrolled in a self-help home-building program broke ground in Toquerville for their homes Thursday, marking the beginning of a new chapter in their journey to own a home.

Watch videocast at the top of the story, click the play arrow  play-arrow  in the center.

The self-help program, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and administered by the Five County Association of Governments Housing Program, aims to assist “low income families to join other families to build a group of homes together,” according to the Five County Housing Program website.

For the families involved in the project, getting this far in the process has not been easy. They have faced financial hardship, medical challenges and other issues, and have been rejected by other programs.

“I first went to Color Country when Dixie and Dottie were over it, and I asked them what I could do to get into the program,” program participant Stephanie Wall said. “I had to be on a waiting list, and when I was on that waiting list my first year, they went out of business.

“So my application went to Provo and I followed it and I stayed in touch with it and updated it whenever they asked me to. About a year, year and a half later, the Five Counties picked it up.”

Wall is a single mother to four children, ages 16, 12, 9, and 18 months.

The USDA is about to celebrate its 50th birthday in running this program, so that’s how long it’s been running and been successful,” Doni Pack, program administrator for the self-help program said. “People can qualify to be able to get a loan from USDA and the Federal Government. When they go to close their loan, there is no down payment required, no closing costs required, the loan is rated at 4 percent or less, and if making that mortgage payment would be too high of a percentage of their income, then USDA will do some financial assistance for a portion of that payment at 1 percent. They won’t expect that to be repaid until the end of the loan.”

Pack also said that this program does a lot to avoid negative stereotypes that can come with low-income housing.

This is not a handout. They have to contribute 30 hours a week to build their own homes as well as contributing to building the other homes in the project,” Pack said.

“This way, they have the skills to be able to maintain their homes and the desire to do so,” she said. “There is a yearly followup where we review their financial situation.”

Pack and the program participants are aiming to complete the homes by June.

St. George News videographer Leanna Bergeron contributed the videocast for this report.


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  • One for the road January 16, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    That’s great I hope it all works out for all of them. enjoy your new homes

  • UTCOWBOY January 16, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    I hope this works out for all of them

  • Robbie January 16, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    What an awesome report. You made me cry again

  • Housing Rights January 16, 2015 at 5:39 pm

    Another group starts building on Peachtree Drive in May, but they need two more families. At the end of the article it says who to contact.

  • Disgusted January 17, 2015 at 3:53 pm

    I am disgusted by your comment. Your feelings regarding the FLDS community have no connection to this news article or the people discussed in it. You are achieving nothing positive or productive, simply spewing hatred toward others. Your comment does not merit any further reply by anyone.

    • Avatar photo Joyce Kuzmanic January 17, 2015 at 4:44 pm

      Agreed and deleted, D

  • been there January 17, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    These people are like everyone else trying to eek out a living in Southern Utah. For reasons that we are unaware of ” time and unforeseen occurrences befall all men”. For those who think so much of their achievements, remember, in a flash medical emergency’s, family issues, economic woes can hit at any moment and you may find yourself trying to pick up the pieces as these families are. Judge lest you be judged.

  • Mean Momma January 17, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    Really Joyce? I didn’t see the comment, but it appears to be about the FLDS and not relating to this article, so why do you not delete all the “disgusting ” comments about the LDS church and people that do not apply to so very many articles posted on here? What the heck is up with that?

    • Avatar photo Joyce Kuzmanic January 18, 2015 at 7:22 am

      MM, my deleting it had nothing to do with its criticism of the FLDS or other groups the commenter attacked; the comment was indecent and unacceptable in tone. We allow that people will argue and even shake their fists at each other’s affiliations and viewpoints. I could not see anything fruitful in this one. (Before anyone chimes in further, clearly not all comments in social media are fruitful, I know, I know.)
      I hope that helps,
      ST. GEORGE NEWS | STGnews.com
      Joyce Kuzmanic
      Editor in Chief

  • Lee January 18, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    My wife and I recently purchased land in Almond Heights Toquerville and look forward to new neighbors and good friends.

  • Cali January 25, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    This is amazing and the families are awesome. Wonderful news and great for the community

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