One local family will receive a new home in Tremonton through a nonprofit organization that has helped more than 29 million people worldwide in finding safe, comfortable and affordable housing.
Habitat for Humanity is partnering with Tremonton City to build a new home at 316 W. 400 North. Specifically, the group’s local affiliate, Habitat for Humanity of Northern Utah, is taking on the project.
Susie Witt, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Northern Utah’s Brigham City office, said the Tremonton home will be modeled after a home the organization built in Brigham City last year.
Witt said her office has about 20 applications on hand at any given time, and builds one or two houses every year.
“It’s a big need in Box Elder County, and not just Brigham City,” Witt said. “We cover the whole area.”
It’s not a free ride for the family that will receive the home. Families are selected through a rigorous application process, and while they receive an interest-free loan and pay no more than 30 percent of their monthly income, they still have to pay for the mortgage and demonstrate the ability to do so before being chosen.
Habitat for Humanity representatives visit in person with applicants, and make their selections based on who has the most need.
“It’s a hard process,” she said. “You want to give it to all of them, and you can’t.”
The family that was chosen to receive the home has a son with cerebral palsy, so the house will be built to accommodate his specific needs. Witt said that while her organization doesn’t build extravagant homes, those special needs will make the project more expensive than a typical one.
“We have to do some different things for this house that will cost more than normal, so we’re trying to find as much help as we can get,” she said.
The organization relies on a combination of volunteer labor, cash donations, grants and donated materials, and is looking to partner with anyone who is able and willing to provide those resources, she said.
Tremonton City is one of the partners in the project and has agreed to chip in $6,200 through its Redevelopment Agency to cover impact fees for the project. The city will also waive $1,500 in building and connection fees.
Witt said the mortgage payments on Habitat for Humanity homes go straight back into building the next home, “so every dollar keeps going around in a circle.
“We don’t have any debt per se,” she said. “We just stop the process if we run out of money.”
However, she said that hasn’t happened in the six years since she joined the organization.
“We’ve had zero foreclosures since I started,” she said.
Habitat for Humanity is a Christian housing ministry founded in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller. The Northern Utah affiliate has been around since 1981, and Witt said it was the 14th independent group to become affiliated with the international organization.
She said the local program has been very cost effective, as last year’s home in Brigham City was built for $145,000 and recently appraised at $266,000.
“It really worked out well last time, so we’re hoping to do the same thing for this family,” she said.