Mutual Self-Help Housing

PLEASE NOTE: Helena Habitat is not accepting new pre-qualification forms or applicants to the housing program at this time. To be notified when you can apply for homeownership through our program, please fill out this contact form.

Helena Area Habitat for Humanity is partnering with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) to offer the Mutual Self-Help Housing program in the Helena Area and parts of rural Montana.



About Self-Help


Mutual Self-Help is a housing program which prospective homeowners can participate in by partnering with Helena Area Habitat for Humanity. Under the guidance of Habitat construction staff, participants build their own homes with the assistance of their relatives, friends, and other Mutual Self-Help future homeowners. Our Self-Help program is for very low and low income people who are determined and ready to own their own homes. Habitat staff assists these future homeowners through the entire process, starting by helping them access financing, then providing construction training and guidance in the construction of the homes.



Benefits of Mutual Self-Help


  • Instant equity in your home earned through your own labor


  • Interest rate when modified by payment assistance, can be as low as 1%


  • Up to 33-year payback period, with a 38-year payback period for some applicants based on income


  • Develop lasting relationships with neighbors by building your homes together.


  • We use the following guidelines to evaluate each application but additional factors may influence your eligibility.

Where we Build…


Helena Area Habitat is currently building four homes in the Red Fox Meadows neighborhood, a new subdivision in East Helena at the intersection of Lake Helena Drive and Canyon Ferry Road. The subdivision offers beautiful sunsets in a picturesque valley setting, with central sewer, individual wells, and fiber optic service – to name a few perks. Single family lots and duplex condominium units make up the subdivision. Read more about the vision for Red Fox Meadows here.


Helena Habitat has expanded to address housing needs in rural areas of Montana. Four homes are currently being built in The Spires neighborhood of Red Lodge, Montana off of highway 78 near Red Lodge Mountain Golf Course. This developing community features walking and biking paths, access to a running creek, and a beautiful view of Red Lodge Mountain.


Please note: The location of future builds is continuously being evaluated and determined.





We use the following guidelines to evaluate each application but additional factors may influence your eligibility.


  • Skills: No construction or carpentry skills are needed. Habitat will teach you everything you need to know! The future homeowners in the build group will be guided through the construction process by Habitat’s competent construction staff.


  • Income: Must be less than 80% of the HUD Median Income in Lewis and Clark county. Applicants must exhibit steady and verifiable income for at least one year. Because many factors determine adjusted annual income, you may be eligible even if your income exceeds the maximum allowable income. The only way to know whether or not you qualify is to begin the process by submitting your pre-qualification form; please see below and follow the steps outlined in the ‘How to Apply’ section.


Lewis and Clark County:




Billings, MT HUD Metro FMR Area (Used for Carbon County):




  • Credit History: Credit is reviewed and evaluated on a case-by-case basis.


  • Residency: U.S. citizenship or permanent residency is required.


  • Time Commitment: All future homeowners contribute 65% of the labor on all the homes in each build group. This equals a minimum of 20 hours per week from the family or individual, their friends, and their volunteers, for the duration of construction. Hours are typically completed on Saturdays and one weekday evening, every week for the duration of the build until every home is complete. Construction time is approximately one year and future homeowners must plan accordingly. This commitment of time and “sweat equity” is very important as all of the homes must be finished and pass inspection before anyone is allowed to move in.