It Takes a Village—Teamwork and Volunteerism Help to Revitalize a Home and Make a Big Impact in a Kearns Neighborhood

It Takes a Village—Teamwork and Volunteerism Help to Revitalize a Home and Make a Big Impact in a Kearns Neighborhood

With the help of two groups of hard working volunteers, Community Development Corporation of Utah (CDCU) and Salt Lake County were able to successfully rehabilitate a dilapidated house in Kearns while making an even bigger impact on overall neighborhood revitalization and community building.  The house at 5111 South 4460 West was part of CDCU and the County’s highly successful Idea House program in which one of the most run-down houses in a neighborhood is acquired and rehabilitated to enhanced standards of health, safety, energy efficiency, and accessibility, all while keeping it affordable.  Once completed, CDCU holds an open house event, inviting the neighbors and community to come see the house in order to get ideas for improvements they can make to their own homes as well as learn about all of the support and services CDCU and Salt Lake County offer homebuyers and homeowners.

In addition to the great long-standing partnership between CDCU and Salt Lake County, we had extra help this time as both Wells Fargo and AT&T sent employee volunteer groups to help with the project!  As part of the Wells Fargo Team Member Volunteer program, CDCU was generously provided with $15,000 toward the project as well as a group of 18 Wells Fargo employees who took time out of their schedules to do a considerable amount of the demolition required for the project, saving us thousands of dollars.  Wells Fargo volunteers demolished an unsafe and decrepit back deck, tore up flooring and removed old kitchen cabinets in preparation for the contractor’s renovations.

As with all Idea Houses, CDCU rehabilitated the house to be a model of efficiency, safety, and health.  Some of the renovations included installing new, better insulated windows, additional insulation in the attic, a new energy efficient water heater and kitchen appliances, hard surface flooring in common rooms to decrease allergens and hypoallergenic carpet in the bedrooms, vertical blinds to prevent dust collection which is often an asthma trigger, and a no-step entry to improve visitibility/accessibility.  As with all of CDCU’s construction and rehabilitation projects, local contractors were hired to complete the work.  The contractor hired for this project is a local veteran who has provided excellent work for CDCU on a number of projects.  All of the Idea Houses and CDCU’s other construction activities therefore are an investment in small business and economic development in Salt Lake County.

When the home was nearly complete, another hard-working group of volunteers, this time from AT&T, generously donated their time to help in the final phases of construction, installing doorknobs and doorstops, touching up paint, and wrapping up the finishing touches to get the project to completion.  In addition, 20 AT&T volunteers raked leaves at several houses in the neighborhood, picked up trash along the surrounding streets, gathered donations for a food drive CDCU held to benefit the Homeless Youth Resource Center, and delivered 1,000 flyers promoting the Open House event and letting neighbors know about CDCU’s low-cost refinancing option for working families.

Finally, the Kearns Community Council was invited to visit the house during the Idea House Open House.  While presenting information about this project and CDCU’s other services to the Kearns Community Council, several members who were familiar with CDCU’s work in the community commented on the high caliber of services and construction previously provided in the area.

The Open House was held Thursday, November 20th, and neighbors were impressed with the result.  The house has been greatly improved and down payment assistance for the buyer is available to help with the up-front costs of a home purchase.  The buyer will also benefit from CDCU’s award-winning homebuyer education and homeownership advising program.  This house will make a wonderful home for its future owner, and the project wouldn’t have been possible without the contributions of so many.

Thanks to Salt Lake County, Wells Fargo, AT&T, Kearns Community Council, and all of those who support the work of CDCU!


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