In Salem, Utah, the reality of homeownership is finally a dream come true for Francis Badibanga and his family of six. Francis achieved this dream by working with a local self-help program, putting in hundreds of hours of sweat equity to bring down the price of his new home, and securing an affordable loan with USDA Rural Development.
Francis Badibanga often dreamed of owning a home after moving to Utah as a refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2017. Although, he didn’t realize his dream could become a reality until one of his children’s school teachers told him about USDA Rural Development’s self-help program. Francis was fascinated with the idea and applied for the program.
While Francis was waiting for his application to get approved, the COVID-19 Pandemic hit. Suddenly Francis began to lose hope, months passed by, and he began to think his family did not qualify for the program. He eventually learned his family was still on the waiting list and began to feel hope once again.
In October 2022 Francis and his wife Nicole were awaiting the arrival of their fourth child before the end of the month. On October 15th Francis and six other families began building their new homes in Salem, Utah under the supervision of Self-Help Homes non-profit organization. As expected, a baby girl soon joined the Badibanga family.
Francis continued to work 40 hours at his full-time job plus 35 hours of sweat equity into building the group of homes every week. Extreme winter weather added to the many challenges the self-help group were already facing.
Francis said, “Some of my friends would tell me to give up, but I kept a positive attitude and kept at it. We believe in God, and even though the program was very hard, we also knew that the Lord wanted to help us to succeed. It is a blessing for us to have our own place, where I can live with my own family.”
As the seven families in the group worked hard together to build their homes, they built more than just seven houses. They built a strong community of trusting friendships to last for a very long time.