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Utah nonprofit flips dilapidated houses, brings positive change to communities

By Jed Boal  |  Posted May 14th, 2015 @ 10:27pm


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MAGNA — A Utah nonprofit is making positive changes in our communities and neighborhoods one home at a time — it's called an "Idea House."

The big idea of the Community Development Corporation of Utah is to take a dilapidated house, fix it up, and sell it at an affordable price to somebody who really wants to care for it.

There's down payment assistance for the homes for qualified applicants — and these properties sell quickly.

The CDCU lists all of the properties on its website.

"It makes a really big impact on the surrounding area," Kara Hetrick, a business development manager, said.

Dramatically revitalized, theses houses get new paint, new windows and blinds.

"Got kind of a facelift," Hetrick said.


Rather than just making a tiny improvement on a bunch of houses, let's occasionally take a bigger chunk of money and put it in one house that's really one of the worst of the neighborhood, and let's make it one of the best in the neighborhood.

–Kara Hetrick, a business development manager


The houses also get a new roof, floors, energy-efficient windows, doors and appliances.

"So, that will reduce energy costs and increase efficiency," Hetrick said.

At just under $154,000, one of the properties also includes a large guesthouse.

The CDCU has rehabilitated 25 houses in the last five years in Magna and Kearns.

"Rather than just making a tiny improvement on a bunch of houses, let's occasionally take a bigger chunk of money and put it in one house that's really one of the worst of the neighborhood, and let's make it one of the best in the neighborhood," Hetrick said.

The group invites the neighbors and tells them about the program.

"It looks really nice," Hetrick said.

Gilberto Vigil grew up in the Magna area.

"My brother built that, that's original," Vigil said.

His family sold it years ago.

"Then it just completely fell apart, and the drug people in town moved in and made it a meth house," Vigil said.

He regularly called the police, but now, the drug traffic is gone.

"Hopefully, a nice family will come and move in here," Vigil said.

That's what happened with the other "idea houses."

"The police officers say they notice a decrease in crime, not just in that property, but in properties in the area," Hetrick said.

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