Program helps lower-income families build and move in to homes

Published: Jan. 19, 2018 at 10:18 PM MST
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Kayla Bohr and her family are getting ready to move into a new house.

A house she helped build from the foundation to the roof.

“From day one the process has been overwhelming, but really good,” Bohr said. “I’ve had plenty of slivers, but I’ve also cut every single piece of wood in this house.”

She was part of the

It’s a USDA Rural Development program administered in the Magic Valley by South Central Community Action Partnership.

“We know that there is a huge need for affordable housing everywhere in the valley,” said Ken Robinette, the CEO of SCCAP.

The program is designed to help face that, by allowing lower income families buy a house they otherwise wouldn’t afford, by building it.

“This allows the families to put in their own sweat-equity to build their home and yet have a quality home,” Robinette said.

A construction supervisor oversees the work and helps the families build. For someone to qualify they need to be employed, or be able to show they can pay a mortgage. They also need to have good credit. Then they need to be able to put in 35 hours a week into building their home.

After that they don’t need a down payment or a closing cost. The whole thing could save them between $20,000 and $30,000.

“A lot of people would say oh it’s just charity and stuff. It’s really not, it’s a lot of hard work that you need to put in yourself,” Bohr said.

The whole process takes about nine months. SCCAP has been administering the program for about eight years, helping 51 families get into homes during that time.

For the first few years it was only in Kimberly, this project was the first in Filer. While the next few projects are in Filer, Robinette said they could expand to other communities.

“If there’s a community interested in working with us, contact

,” he said.

Robinette said people in the program benefit their area because they are working, shopping, going to school and paying taxes in the community.