Families build their own homes in Silt | PostIndependent.com

Families build their own homes in Silt

"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. While the Beresford Family, alongside the Valdez Family will move into their homes, currently under construction, in June, four more low-income families will need to be selected by the organization by March.

"The hardest part of the family selection process is that we can't help all of the families that could benefit from our program," explained Habitat for Humanity Volunteer Coordinator and Family Services Director Amy French. "I encourage all interested families to submit their pre-applications and I will meet with families on the process."

Applicants can find pre-applications on the Habitat for Humanity Roaring Fork website at http://www.habitatroaringfork.org/. Full Applications must be returned by Wednesday, Feb. 28. Full Applications are available after the pre-application is returned and approved.

To be eligible the applicants must meet several basic requirements, including applicants must be a U.S. Citizen or a legal permanent resident and he or she must have lived and worked in the Roaring Fork Valley for the last 12 months, families must meet the financial requirements, and they must need and be ready to be a homeowner.

The current income range for Habitat homeowners is up to $57,000 per year.

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French said in the past some families were considering leaving the valley before their new home and others have applied for multiple homes before they were ultimately selected.

"These families would not have the opportunity to have a home in the valley without these homes," French said.

Another requirement is that families must show a "willingness to partner," meaning that families must show that they are willing to partner with Habitat by contributing 250 hours on the construction of their home and the homes of other families as well as other financial compensation.

This contribution from homeowners, known as "sweat equity hours", helps families stay involved during the building process and allows former Habitat recipients to continue to partner with the organization.

With the selection process going until March, each of the families will be able to help build their home during construction, French said.

She added as soon as the ground thaws in the spring, the two additional duplexes will begin to be built with the help of volunteers.

Approximately 3,500 volunteer hours are spent at each house.

French said 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.

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 will move families into its 30th, 31st, 32nd, 33rd, 34th and 35th homes in its area from Aspen to Parachute.

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 habitatroaringfork.org.