Elk Ridge family's home is sinking into the earth

    Elk Ridge family's home is sinking into the earth (KUTV)

    (KUTV ) -- Justine Bell's home is only about a year old but it looks like it's falling apart. Water is coming into the basement, doors and windows won't latch and there are huge cracks in the walls and ceilings.

    All of the damage is result of the fact that the new home is sinking. Engineers say the problem is likely due to the soil and it can be fixed - but it's not going to be cheap.

    “We have to lift the house to get it back to ground level and that is over $75000,” Bell said. “Just that, not including cosmetic damage."

    Bell built her home with the help of a non-profit group called Self Help Homes. It's a charity that pairs up people to work together and construct each other's homes. Self-help provides all the, "plans," it’s website says. The US Department of Agriculture provides loans for the land, construction materials, and any subcontracting that may be required.

    "They've built over 500 homes and they claim that this is the first one they've ever had problems with,” Bell said. “They advertise quality, affordable homes."

    Self Help Homes is based in Provo. A spokesperson told Get Gephardt that it is working with Bell’s lender, the U.S.D.A.

    “In our communications, USDA has provided a course of action and is working with the family toward its implementation,” said Self Help’s Executive Director Brad Bishop.

    U.S.D.A. spokesperson Jamie Welch Jaro says they plans to get a soil study, which they need in order to declare an official, "construction defect," which is important because such a declaration would allow the ISDA to pay most of the money to fix the issue.

    Bell says she’s growing tired of the promise which hasn’t materialized in several months.

    “I have to fight with them constantly, asking for updates, asking if they've done anything to try and move forward to figure it out,” she said. "I just want it all fixed so we can go back to life as normal."

    Welch Jaro confirmed to Get Gephardt Tuesday that they have ordered the soil-study and expect it will be completed, “any day now," after which they hope to get the ball rolling on digging Bell’s family out of the literal rut in which they find themselves sinking.

    News In Photos

      Loading ...