By John Zsiray/The Herald Journal
HYRUM – After nearly 25,000 hours of blood, sweat and tears, 10 families slept in their new Hyrum homes on Thursday night after celebrating the completion of the city’s first mutual self-help housing community.
Neighborhood Housing Solutions just opened up 10 glistening homes with varying styles on 1000 East just past the reaches of the right-field foul ball pole at the Mountain Crest baseball field.
Known previously as Neighborhood Nonprofit Housing Corporation, the organization works to create affordable housing opportunities for families who are willing to put in up to 65 percent of the work during the construction phase.
David Frandsen, program manager for Neighborhood Housing Solutions, said the organization has a wide range of participants in the self-help housing program.
During the construction phase, which generally takes around 10 months, participants learn a variety of construction techniques from the skilled staff at Neighborhood Housing Solutions, Frandsen said.
For past nine years, Dallin and Loryn Law lived in a two-bedroom apartment where they shared space with both their children, Gunner and Magnolia. On Friday morning, they will wake up in their own home after completing thousands of hours of labor.
“Our son is really excited to have a backyard where he can go play,” Loryn said. “In an apartment you don’t just send them out into the yard to play.”
The couple is excited to become homeowners, and having a lot of equity in the home already is a definite plus, Loryn said.
“We were able to build something here that we will live in, and that is pretty amazing,” Loryn said.
Loryn said there were setbacks during the construction process, just like any build would have, but overall it was fairly smooth for her and the group. One of the biggest battles the group had was dealing with the snow and wet conditions this spring.
The program is funded through the United State Department of Agriculture and its Rural Housing Service to help establish affordable housing in rural communities across America, Frandsen said.
Along with the commitments of contributing 65 percent of the labor, owner-builders are required to contribute 35 hours per week on set days and times, Frandsen said.
The organization built its first community in Nibley in 2001, and to date it’s built 219 homes in that city.
After celebrating its 20th anniversary last year, Neighborhood Housing Solutions has built nearly 400 homes throughout Cache County and some in Box Elder County.
During a presentation at the Hyrum Community Center prior to a street party and open-house tour of the new homes, Hyrum Mayor Stephanie Miller welcomed the new residents and congratulated them on their hard work.
Miller went on to talk about how her daughter participated in the program years ago and told participants they had all accomplished something incredible.
Those speaking during the ceremony all spoke of the group’s ability to create a community as they worked together and will now know each other “for better or worse.”
While Dallin grew up in Cache Valley, Loryn came to Logan from the South and didn’t really know anyone after her move. She said one of the biggest benefits of the housing program is that homeowners have now built a community with their neighborhood through helping build each others’ homes.
“It was fun to meet some people, and you really bond with the people in the neighborhood. I feel like I have made some really good friends during the building process,” Loryn said. “It is awesome because some of them are moms and some aren’t, but we are all in this same boat building houses together.”