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USDA Celebrates Homeownership Month, Volunteers Time to Help Build Homes in Francis, Utah

Jamie Welch Jaro
Salt Lake City
Release Date
Jun 17, 2014

Volunteers from USDA Rural Development offices joined families participating in the Mutual Self-help Housing Program to work on the construction of their homes in Francis, Utah, on June 16, 2014. Ten houses are being constructed in Francis through Mountainlands Community Housing Trust, which first received USDA Rural Development funding in 2002 to partner in the Mutual Self-Help Housing program.

“I love seeing families in action with a hammer and nails to earn their way to homeownership,” said Dave Conine, Utah State Director for USDA Rural Development.  “Each group of families that participates in the Mutual Self-Help program works together, establishing a sense of community even before move-in day.”

Ten families are currently working on building their homes in Francis, Utah, with another group of seven families to follow close behind. USDA’s Mutual Self-Help Housing program requires participants to complete 65% of a home’s construction themselves.  Participants apply through a local non-profit group to secure a USDA housing loan and, following approval, work in groups to complete each other’s homes.

June is Homeownership Month and this year’s theme is “Own Your Future, Own Your Home”. Paul and Shannon Sampson are one family eager to own their future home in the picturesque hills of Francis, Utah. After seeing their student loans and medical emergency expenses add up, the Sampsons didn’t think they had a chance when it came to owning a home. After learning about the Mutual Self-Help Housing program, Paul said he was shocked. “To us, we hit the lottery. We’ll have a home ten times what we thought we’d originally have.”

The Sampsons are just one of the families who have experienced the homeownership dream come true with help from USDA Rural Development. In fiscal year 2013, USDA Rural Development helped more than 2,700 Utah families become homeowners, including 90 through the Mutual Self-Help program.

President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities.
USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.