GREAT FALLS — The latest round of NeighborWorks Great Falls’ Owner Built Homes program continued on Saturday.
The program provides affordable homes in exchange for the future homeowners helping build the homes, and the hot and dry weather isn’t slowing the builders down.
Keelie Lorenz is proud of the work she’d done to help build the house she’ll soon be able to call home.
“I’ve actually learned a lot with just using the tools and actually how to build a house. I never thought I would touch a saw in my life, but it’s actually been a really great experience,” said Lorenz.
She said her daughter was her motivation for participating in the owner-built homes program.
“My boyfriend actually had someone a couple of years ago in the build-up in Skyline. We went to their first barbecue when they opened the house. I was pregnant at the time and I was still living in an apartment and I was, like, ‘You know, I don’t really want to raise my daughter in apartments her whole life,’” Lorenz explained.
“I think I was in middle school when my mom got her house. It was really nice because I was able to paint my own room and we were able to play in the backyard. My daughter, she’ll be two in December, she’ll be able to have a swing set and stuff like that. i never had that when I was little, so I want to give that to her.”
Neighborworks Great Falls Fundraising and Outreach Coordinator Chelsey Hutmacher said that’s not unlike many of the program’s participants.
“They put in over 1,500 hours over the course of their time building, so these people truly deserve to own their own home. So many of them have pets or have children and they want to provide a better life for their families,” said Hutmacher.
Each round of homes typically takes 12 to 16 months to complete.
The next round is expected to start in a few weeks, while the homes that are under construction as of Saturday are expected to be complete later in the year.