Self-reliance at heart of LDS Church and other helping programs

When Ali and Fatuma Yussuf escaped war-torn Somalia in 1999 with their young and growing family, headed for years in a Kenyan refugee camp, they weren't pining for a good-sized house and a tidy yard in South Salt Lake. But Thursday, they stood with their six kids in front of just such a home and accepted the keys from Habitat for Humanity. It's a dream built one 2-by-4 at a time with the help of dozens of strangers.

It's not a gift. They'll buy it at a very reasonable price, the down payment paid with more than 225 hours of their own time on the project. Along the way, they learned skills that will help them be great homeowners, says Habitat director Stephen Tagliaferri, from finance to simple home repair and how to be part of diverse communities.

The concept is "self-reliance," and it's the heart of many helping-hand programs that serve those with dire needs, from the welfare program of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which just celebrated its 75th birthday, to the fledgling steps of a Salt Lake area homeless outreach program.

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