Program helps people to build their own home

POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - Think you can't own your own home?

A program in Poplar Bluff is making it possible for people to build their own, if you're literally willing to put in a little sweat.

It's called mutual self help housing. The perks include no down payment. But, you have to meet income requirements and be willing to put a hammer to use on your home and others.

Ninety percent of new builders are single mothers like Angel Hillis.

"Just going to bed at night knowing it's just me and my daughter and it's mine it's mine it's mine," said Hillis.

Angel hills and her 9-year-old daughter will soon live in the home.

"I picked it out the color the siding light fixtures everything you are building your home," she said.

Through mutual self help housing, the Department of Agriculture and Department of Rural Development her home building dreams came true.

"I didn't think I would ever be able to build a home," Hillis said.

First Hillis had to meet credit and income requirement. For instance a family of two like Angel and her daughter must bring in less than $30,700 a month.

Then she has to put in 25 hours a week of sweat on her home and others.

"I've done a lot it insulation pulling wires lights on the wall," she said.

But she says perks like no doubt payment and the final reward make it worth it.

"Seeing the progress it just makes you do much more excited I'm just ready I'm ready," Hillis said.

"It's the working class people looking to get out of renting and owning their own home," said Coordinator Jared Hicks. He explains homes range upwards of $100,000.

"I don't know if there's any other program out there like this besides habitat for humanity they work on a different scale of course," Hicks said.

He says it takes 6 months or so to complete a home. Once all of the houses in each group are done, all of the families move in at the same time. Hillis' group should be done by summer's end.

"We work a lot of people that say I've never build a house and most people haven't," Hicks said.

As for Hillis, she says she was empowered by learning she was capable of all kinds of construction projects. It's a feeling almost as exciting calling herself a home owner.

"I'll wanna jump on my bed I guess that its mine- I'll scream," Hillis said.

If 25 hours a week of extra work sounds intimidating - friends and family can share those hours with you to break it up.

That's how a working mom like Hillis managed it. But she puts in a lot of Saturdays.

Contractors say she always has a smile on her face as she works.

Some families also qualify for a subsidized loan because the program is income based.

For more information contact:

Jared Hicks, Ozark Foothills Development Association
Poplar Bluff, MO 63901
(573) 686-5467 or by email

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