The Frontier House

Our ongoing work, evaluating and developing systemic solutions for affordable housing in rural Utah, led us to the development the of a 708-square-foot house we’ve named the Frontier House. The Frontier House is designed as a case study to test an affordable, quality-made, and high-performance option for Green River, Utah. Prevalent to rural America, affordable housing options are often limited to inefficient mobile homes (“trailers”) which depreciate in value over time and incur high ongoing repair and maintenance costs as they deteriorate with age. Epicenter’s Fix It First home repair program expanded to offer repairs on trailers as a band-aid solution for urgent repairs; we previously only repaired traditional homes. But as we worked on trailers, we grew increasingly concerned by the living conditions and sky-high costs. As a response, we designed the Frontier House to match the square footage and monthly living costs of a single-wide trailer. For our next steps, we’ll be closely watching the performance and maintenance costs of the house and working with our partners (including our subcontractors and USDA Rural Development) to work to bring this stick-built, equity-building housing option to our fellow neighbors looking to build their own home, one that is efficient, durable, and affordable.

As we need to monitor the house, Epicenter will maintain ownership. As Epicenter grows and acquires more housing stock, we may find that we’re able to sell or rent this house; for now we’ll use it to house our Frontier Fellows (month-long visiting artists) and volunteers, something we’ve been needing for years.

The house was made possible through support from individuals like you and through private grants from American Express, Wells Fargo, Bike & Build, the Sorenson Legacy Foundation, the Rocky Mountain Power Foundation, and the Olene Walker Housing Loan Fund.