Five families to build houses together

December 16, 2000

Five families to build houses together

By SCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writer

Five Tri-State families, most likely from Hancock, will soon be building homes together which they will later own as part of an Interfaith Housing of Western Maryland project.

The group has built 81 homes in Frederick and Carroll counties. This is its first "mutual self-help" project of this type in Washington County, Kay Schultz, the group's self-help project director, said Friday.

In January the group will begin publicizing the project more and looking for applicants, she said.

Applicants don't have to be from Hancock, but residents there will be given an opportunity to apply first because the homes will be built in Hancock, she said.

To be eligible, families must not have owned a home previously.

Under the program, the five families selected are promised financing and supervision is provided during the construction process, Schultz said.

The families will be trained next spring, and the construction is scheduled to begin in early summer, she said. Construction usually takes about six months.


The families are contractually obliged to help build all five homes.

The homes - for families of modest incomes - cost the families $80,000 to $100,000, but Interfaith offers helpful financing, Schultz said. The families accumulate sweat equity from their work on the homes in place of a down payment.

Not everyone feels it's possible to build homes while holding a full-time job and raising a family, but it can be done, Schultz said.

She briefed the Hancock Town Council on the project earlier this week.

"The concept and idea that they build a mini-community within themselves to work on each others' properties is a good idea," Mayor Daniel E. Murphy said Friday. "We certainly are encouraging and supporting the project."

Some of the work, such as plumbing and electricity, is done by local contractors, but the families do the majority of the work, particularly the framing, siding, roofing and construction, Schultz said.

Each family must work at least 30 hours a week on the project, which is usually on Saturdays, Sundays and free weekday evenings, she said.

The homes will be built in Mountain View Estates on Pennsylvania Avenue, across from the Hancock Assembly of God.

The group is different from Habitat for Humanity in that Habitat exclusively builds homes while Interfaith has other projects.

Interfaith has been a major participant in planning a senior citizens facility under construction in Hancock at the former site of the Monterey House.

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