Help housing in Moab with a simple step — or dance — on Saturday, March 23, at the Community Rebuilds Floor Stomp Party.
As a first-grade teacher in Moab, Sheila Strahan was considered low-income and didn’t qualify for a home mortgage, so she turned to Community Rebuilds.
Community Rebuilds is a nonprofit organization that builds straw-bale, solar-powered homes for people with low incomes.
Construction costs are kept affordable with the help of student interns who come to learn about the natural, green-building techniques from start to finish. Each household contributes 20 hours of “sweat equity” per week, on top of whatever jobs the homeowner or homeowners have. Building crews are led by a licensed general contractor in the area.
For Strahan, that means for the past few months she has been contributing three or so hours after school each day to the build, and all day on Saturdays. Friends also lend a hand occasionally toward those required work hours.
“I like their green building model and that it’s energy-efficient,” Strahan said. “And I like that they’re invested in working for Moab locals.”
Strahan’s is a twin home. Next door, 29-year-old Chelsea Cobb’s home is being built through the same program.
Community members can see the new homes on Saturday during the Community Rebuilds Floor Stomp Party from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be live music to dance to, and people are encouraged to dance throughout the day to help tamp down the adobe floors of the new homes.
“The whole community is invited to come out and dance with us,” Community Rebuilds intern Jamie Shalvey said. “It’s a great way to make the process go faster. It happens every semester.”
Cobb said she had no prior building experience, and is thankful for the knowledge she is gaining while putting in her required 20 hours each week of sweat equity. She said the skills she is learning will help her maintain her home.
“It’s nice, they guide you through the whole process,” Cobb said. “It’s fabulous to have a team to work with.”
Her new 750-square foot house has two bedrooms and one bath. Cobb worked with a draftsman to help design the interior and recently began shopping for exterior doors. Homeowners choose other design features as well. For example, Strahan is creating a plaster-relief design of an arch on her living room wall. Homeowners can also choose a double window to allow for more natural light.
The homes are scheduled for completion and an open house at the end of June. Another house on Spanish Valley Drive is also being built this semester.
Next semester, a new project will begin on Mill Creek Drive. Community Rebuilds completes two or three homes each semester. The spring semester is from February 1 to June 30, and the fall semester begins on July 15 and ends in December.
As of 2018, the nonprofit had completed 36 homes. Approximately 30 of those homes are in Moab, with other houses built in the region.
Community Rebuilds uses recycled, salvaged and donated building materials whenever possible. The homes are designed to combine straw-bale insulated walls with passive and active solar energy. At a cost of $70 per square foot, homes built by Community Rebuilds cost much less than the average cost to build in the Moab area. Each homeowner sees additional savings with lower monthly energy bills due to the reduced carbon output of the home.
Shalvey said all ages are welcome to the floor stomp party.
“We have had a lot of kids in the past, which is always a lot of fun with the music playing and kids all around,” Shalvey said.
Tamp down adobe floors March 23
“I like their green building model and that it’s energy efficient, and I like that they’re invested in working for Moab locals.”
When: Saturday, March 23, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: 476 and 386 Huntridge Drive
Info: Call 435-260-0501 or visit facebook.com/communityrebuilds