TREMONTON – By Jessica Tanner – Feb. 8, 2020
Having a safe place to call home is often something we take for granted. There are many who have less than ideal living situations, but luckily, there are good people and organizations like the Habitat for Humanity, whose purpose is to provide a decent and safe place to live.
Susie Witt, a representative for Habitat for Humanity of Northern Utah, attended Tremonton City’s Council meeting on Feb. 4, 2020. She provided a presentation about the organization and discussed the home they plan to build in Tremonton for a local family.
“We get daily calls from people asking for help. There is a big need in Box Elder County,” Witt said. “Our mission is to create a world where everyone has a decent, safe place to live. Many do not have that.”
Due to changes in state laws, Habitat for Humanity of Northern Utah has to provide applicants with an answer within 30 days. Since they can only do one to two homes a year they now require people to apply for an application. A committee then picks the family with the highest need.
“There is a process they have to go through to make the decisions,” Witt said. “It is a tough job because they cannot just go off of feelings they have to have reasons why this family is the most deserving. We want to give this opportunity to all of them, but we can’t.”
A Tremonton family was recently selected and they are excited to start that project. When asked how they get their funding, Witt said, “We use grants and the mortgage payments go into building another house. Every dollar just keeps going in a circle. We stop the process if we run out of money, but we keep funding and fundraising wherever we can.”
It is through the support of the local community that they are able to provide this service. With the help of volunteers and cash donations, Habitat for Humanity builds the house for the selected family, who then pays it back through a non-interest home loan.
Tremonton City councilmember Connie Archibald said, “So the applicants have to be fairly financially sound in order for you to continue, otherwise the program dies.”
Witt explained, “That is what makes our process a little bit different. They have to make a certain amount of money or we cannot help them.”
Tremonton City Mayor Roger Fridal asked, “How much money do you invest in a home?”
“We do what we need to, there is no limit. However, we do not want to spend more than is needed. Our philosophy is safe, decent, and affordable. We do not do extravagant, it is just a simple house that meets their needs,” Witt replied.
“The house we built in Brigham City cost us about $145,000, but it appraised for $266,000. It really worked out well and we are hoping to do the same thing for this family,” she added.
Witt mentioned that this particular family would need some handicap accessible features, which will increase their costs. They welcome any help and cash donations.
In order to support this project in Tremonton the council unanimously agreed to waive the building permit fees, inspections, regulatory fees, and requested the RDA pay the impact fees.
For more information on this organization visit www.habitat.org