You don't need tons of money, or debt-
With a SMALL amount of time you can acquire 80% of the materials you need to build a home-
The larger the home, the more time it will take-
So, with the 20% down payment (typical on a home loan) you could pay cash for a home-
You can build out a van (less than 2,000.00 plus the van), a shipping container (less than 10,000.00 including the container), ground up (starting with nothing) and about 1000 other ways-
You can make them hook up to city services, RV/Mobile home parks, or go 100% off-grid (for far less than you think.) and will "smart meters" you can often stay on-grid AND produce more than enough power to run your home and thus have the reliability of connected power, and no maintenance of battery systems, but you lose the freedom of never relying on city power during a storm outage-
The point is that there are options- You can spend time finding what you need, or spend time earning the funds to pay for it. One is an adventure, one is a task-
Finally, I can guarantee that no matter where in America you are if you want to build your own home from reclaimed/free materials you can find someone who will give you all the info you need, for free, because we think that shit is awesome.