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The City Journals

Nonprofit marks 40 years of making Murray home sweet home

Mar 07, 2018 02:37PM ● By Shaun Delliskave

David Moffit of NeighborWorks reviews photos of a home that they remodeled for affordable housing. (Shaun Delliskave/City Journals)

What better way to celebrate the 40th anniversary of a charity dedicated to revitalizing neighborhoods than with an open house. On Jan. 24, NeighborWorks of Salt Lake held an open house for its 40th project in 40 years for a house it remodeled at 276 E. Vine Street.

The 1950s-era rambler has a commanding view of the Ken Price Ballpark. NeighborWorks acquired the distressed property with the idea of remodeling it and then selling it as affordable housing.

David Moffitt, a project manager for NeighborWorks, emphasizes that this home is meant as affordable and not low-income housing. “We are not in it to take this house and give it away. Because what happens if you sell it too cheap? It then ruins the property value of those around you. We want to keep the values up but not overinflate (the price).”

At the open house, Moffitt displayed pictures of the property before the remodel. One photo showed the entire top floor stripped to wood studs, indicating where walls once stood. The previous owner intended to overhaul the entire house, but the project proved too cost prohibitive, and that is when NeighborWorks acquired the home.

“It was bad,” said Joel Cosby, the owner of J&C Property Improvement that was contracted to do the remodel. “The hardest part—that was the basement for sure.”

The mid-20th century rambler now has a modern look due to Cosby’s efforts. Cosby found some polished black slate with which he could redo the fireplace, giving it a sleek look at no extra cost to NeighborWorks.

NeighborWorks not only acquires distressed homes to help revitalize neighborhoods. The program offers home ownership services for residents, who attain down payment and closing cost assistance as first-time home buyers. NeighborWorks also provides home improvement loans and services to remodel existing homes, making them affordable to homebuyers earning below a certain level of the area’s median income. Other services offered include homebuyer development and education, community building, a YouthWorks program, real estate development, and community and business economic development.

“We recently helped an elderly widow on the west side of Murray repair her roof,” noted Moffitt. NeighborWorks extends additional housing services to the residents of Murray and facilitates neighborhood revitalization in its Murray target neighborhoods. Every year they organize Paint Your Heart Out, where volunteers from local businesses and civic groups come together to paint the homes of needy seniors, individuals with disabilities, and limited-income homeowners in Salt Lake City’s west side and Murray.

Real estate broker David Galvan volunteers his services to help facilitate NeighborWork’s home buying. “Murray is a beautiful area, but it has needs for affordable housing. Young people can’t afford to move here. NeighborWorks will come and take over something that needs some love. They will make it beautiful. They will take an eyesore lot and build something new. And, they will not undercut the market but make it affordable by providing lower interest rates.” 

Murray’s Administrative and Development Services Director, Tim Tingey, sits on the nonprofit’s board of directors. 

Galvan explains, “(NeighborWorks) have a partnership with Murray City to help create affordable housing and to take care of some places that need a little more love. There was a lady who lives in Murray now, whose house was being torn down, but she was able to move here due to NeighborWork’s help. They’ve got plenty of those warm-fuzzy stories.’

NeighborWorks will complete its next project at 218 W. 5900 South later this year.