Immediately after finishing a 13th home, Payson Area Habitat for Humanity is preparing to build and sell another 13 townhomes for low-income Rim Country residents.
Charles Proudfoot, president of Payson Area Habitat for Humanity, said the 13 townhomes will be built at the intersection of McLane and Longhorn roads.
He said the Longhorn project is the result of two converging issues in the area -- the rising cost of land and a desire to keep housing more affordable.
"Obviously, land is not getting less expensive in Payson," Proudfoot said.
To be eligible for one of the 13 townhouses, a family must have lived within the Payson High School district for one year, as well as living in substandard housing for at least one year.
"It's getting more and more difficult to build a home that a family can afford," he said.
To meet the demand, Habitat had been looking for a large chunk of land that it could subdivide.
When the Longhorn property became available, the Habitat chapter saw an opportunity.
The homes will be connected, but each home will be owned privately.
To qualify for one of the 13 homes, Habitat for Humanity requires three things:
- Currently living in substandard housing
- Having the financial ability to make the payment on the home
- Partnering with Habitat for Humanity in the future
The partnering portion is extremely important, Proudfoot said, because Habitat homes are sold for what they cost to build.
He said some families have served as mentors, while others have actually served on the board for the Payson chapter.
"You just don't get a home and walk away," Proudfoot said.
He added that there seems to be a misconception that families are receiving these homes for free.
Families pay a mortgage and must be able to make the payments in order to qualify. The mortgage is based on the cost to build the home with no interest.
Another criterion is that a family must only make between 30 to 60 percent of the median income in the Rim Country.
Several thousand families fit that criteria, but very few of those families can afford to live in substandard housing for more than a year, which is another prerequisite.
Habitat may need to modify its criteria so families can meet the requirements, Proudfoot said.
The Longhorn project will have a homeowners association, and Proudfoot stressed that the fees will be as low as possible.
The goal with the Longhorn project is to work with four families at a time.
The 13 homes will be built out and occupied within three years.
The Payson Area Habitat for Humanity is accepting applications for the 13 new homes through the end of the year.
Call Proudfoot at (928) 474-0330 for more information, or Lois English at (928) 468-8512.