Families build their own homes in Silt

Alex Zorn

Future homeowner Suzette Beresford helps build her future home with Roaring Fork Club Volunteers.
Provided |

“This feels like I’ve won the lottery, only better, because it comes with a community,” said soon-to-be Silt homeowner Suzette Beresford after learning she and her three children would move into a new home in 2018. It’s a home she, alongside other families and volunteers, is helping build.

The Beresfords are one of 12 families who will receive a new home in Silt by the end of 2018, thanks to Habitat for Humanity Roaring Fork.

In 2000, when Habitat for Humanity Roaring Fork built its first home in the valley, its goal was to provide local low-income children with as many homes as it could. Now heading into 2018, the organization just moved families into its 26th, 27th, 28th and 29th homes in its area from Aspen to Parachute, providing homes for 75 local kids.

Just as in 2017, six families will move into three duplexes being built in Silt in 2018. The Beresford and Valdez families will move into their homes, currently under construction, in June. Four more low-income families will be selected by the organization in March, bringing Habitat Roaring Fork’s home total to 35 since 2000.

“These families would not have the opportunity to have a home in the valley without these homes,” said Habitat for Humanity Volunteer Coordinator and Family Services Director Amy French. “Some families that we’ve helped said that they were considering leaving the valley.”

She said as soon as the ground thaws in the spring, the two additional duplexes will begin to be built with the help of the newly selected families. Those will be selected in March so they can be at the site during building, French said.

Approximately 3,500 volunteer hours are spent at each house, according to French. Adult homeowners must contribute 250 hours to building themselves, known as “sweat equity hours,” as a crucial way to stay involved.

French said that approximately 53 percent of the homes are built by paid staff and contractors, with volunteers supporting more than 40 percent and homeowners coming in for the final 5 percent.

“Volunteers come from across the Roaring Fork Valley,” she said. “From various businesses and organizations all over. We receive great support from local businesses.”

Around 40 businesses came out to build in Silt last year with the help of more than 20 local contractors.

Each home takes six to nine months to build and without crews form the Rifle Correctional Center, French said the homes would not be put up nearly as fast.

Among Habitat for Humanity Roaring Fork’s goals for 2018 is the opening of the Glenwood Springs ReStore, selecting four more Silt families to receive homes and moving forward with the Habitat project Basalt Vista.

“We would love more volunteers to come help build in 2018 and volunteer in our new ReStore,” French added. “We also want to get the word out to get more families to apply.”

Four families still need to be selected for homes in Silt and full applications must be returned to French by Feb. 28. Pre-applications can be found on the Habitat for Humanity website at

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