The Frontier House

Our ongoing work, evaluating and developing systemic solutions for affordable housing in rural Utah, led us to the development the Frontier House. Our first iteration is a 708-square-foot house built in late 2016. 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 program expanded to offer repairs on trailers (we previously only repaired traditional homes) as a band-aid solution for urgent repairs. But as we worked and invested in 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.

Going forward, we’ll finish the house, debrief the project, review lessons learned, and monitor the house’s energy use and durability. We’ll use it to house our Frontier Fellows, seasonal staff, and volunteers, something we’ve been needing for many years. The house will remain open for tours. Get more details here.

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.

Want to support this project? Donate here.