Building a Community Has Been So Much Bigger

Matt came to Moab in 2007 and did what a lot of folks do: caught the bug. After a season in town as an outdoor educator and river guide, other towns in the western United States just didn’t feel right. 

In his time away from Moab he was able to earn his Masters of Science in Forestry, and is now able to share his passion for restoration ecology in his role as a project manager for a restoration project in town. He loves his job, loves the opportunity to educate others on this magnificent land and do what he can to protect it. After years dedicating himself to preserving the landscape that makes this corner of the earth so special and sharing that with others, Matt is finally getting his chance to own his own home here thanks to the Mutual Self Help Program. 

With just one high school furniture making class under his belt and no other construction experience, Matt started building his own home in December of 2021. The steep learning curve has been well worth the pride that comes with building his own home. The sense of ownership he is building into the walls by using his own two hands to construct his future is helping him feel more connected to his living space already. He’ll be able to know every quirk and story that went into the construction of his house, because he put them there.

For Matt, the easiest way to tackle this enormous task has been one project at a time. As much as he can, he has been enjoying the process. The most valuable asset in all of this has been the three other homeowners in his build group. Together they have weathered building challenges, mud and straw up to their ears, and a host of COVID-19 related complications. The end result is a tight knit group of soon-to-be homeowners who put their sweat equity into not only their own homes, but the homes of their neighbors as well. From the time it was a plot of vacant land to adding the final coat of paint, they have helped each other transform a pile of materials and the dream of homeownership into something magnificent. 

“Building homes has been great,” Matt says. “But building a community has been so much bigger.”

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