'Owner Built Homes' program brings in 145 new homes to the community

GREAT FALLS, Mont. - After months of hard work, 10 neighbors finally completed their Owner Built Homes and are ready to call their house a home.

Although the owners had to do some hands-on work for almost a year and a half, they say the sore muscles and calluses were all worth it in the end.

After 16 months of building walls and laying the foundation, these home builders are now homeowners, all thanks to the Owner Built Homes program.

Through this program, future homeowners use their own “sweat equity” to build equity and purchase a home.

Many owners enjoyed the experience of learning about construction, but new homeowner Nichole Stein says her favorite part was getting to know her future neighbors.

"We all worked super hard together, we became very close, and just the overall community that we created amongst each other, it's a safe zone. These guys are my family now they're not just my neighbors," Stein said.

Since the program was first launched, 145 neighbors have built their homes through this program.

Chelsey Hutmacher with Owner Built Homes says, so far, this opportunity has been a huge gift to the Electric City community.

"It's great that we are able to continue to provide this program to neighbors in Great Falls. Something that I know across the state of Montana we're struggling with affordable housing and so this is a unique way for us to be able to continue to provide and develop affordable housing in our community," Hutmacher said.

While hundreds of people have already taken advantage of this program's opportunity, these new homeowners would not hesitate to encourage others to do the same.

"It's an unbelievable experience. There’s just really no way you can explain it unless you're doing it with nine other families that are just as hard-driven as you are," Stein said.

These homes in Meriwether Crossing are the first homes completed by the program and right now the program is already working on its second project on the next street.

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