Mobile Home Survey

Mobile homes (also known colloquially as “trailers”) were first introduced in 1956 as a new form of affordable housing. Since then, trailers have become a significant portion of the affordable housing stock across America. According to the 2014 American Community Survey (ACS) of the US Census Bureau, 6.4% of housing units across America are trailers. In Green River, this percentage is an astonishing 27.9% (source: 2012 Green River Housing Plan; the 2014 ACS has the percentage at 26.0%).

Mobile Home Survey-portion trailers pie charts

After completing a town-wide housing assessment in 2012 that pointed out the significant use of trailers in Green River, Epicenter staff members followed up in 2014 with a survey of trailers only, going door-to-door to thirty-five homes. We performed the study with the following goals: 1. to understand the unique circumstances and home repair needs of residents living in trailers, 2. to create a list of clients to refer to Fix It First and Habitat for Humanity’s A Brush With Kindness home repair programs, and 3. to gauge the desire for multi-family housing options in Green River.

In early 2016, Epicenter updated and formatted this internal report for publishing. It can be found here.

Since this survey was completed, both Epicenter’s Fix It First and Habitat for Humanity’s A Brush With Kindness home repair programs have begun performing critical repairs on trailers. These housing units were otherwise ineligible for virtually all housing repair programs offered by other agencies.

The collected survey information has also been used in Epicenter’s efforts to develop new multi-family housing units in Green River.

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016


Epicenter’s New Shop

We are excited to announce the completion of Epicenter’s new shop! Epicenter staff designed and built a new 340 SF shop on the back of the Epicenter property over the summer, led by our intern Daniel Richards. This new space securely and efficiently stores all of Epicenter’s and Habitat for Humanity’s tools (all 403 of them!) and provides interior space for pre-fabrication and craft work. When applicable, Frontier Fellows will also have access to the space and tool library.

We’re thrilled to have the tools out of the basement, which is only accessed through a door in the floor inside the office; the basement is once again a usable space for storage and work space for Frontier Fellows. In the new shop, the knolled wall of hand tools assures everything has a place and everything is in its place. The six-foot-wide garage door on the shop allows for trucks to be loaded right where the tools are kept. A new tool library check-out system keeps all the tools organized and tracked. And, for the first time, a 220-volt outlet will allow for the use of our Miller Thunderbolt AC stick welder for fabrication of steel projects.

Project: Epicenter Shop (340 SF interior, unconditioned, slab on grade, wood frame, reflective metal R-panel roof, fiber-cement board siding, painted plywood interior finish)
Construction team: Daniel Richards (Designer and Project Manager), Jack Forinash, Steph Crabtree, Armando Rios, Katie Anderson, Bryan Brooks
Concrete flatwork by High Desert Excavating (Green River) and electrical work by P&L Electrical Services LLC (Helper, UT).

Total cost: $17,454.90
– – Construction costs (materials and sub-contractors): $10,387.22
($6,661.49 [64%] spent in Green River, $2,009.65 [19%] spent in Carbon/Emery Counties other than Green River)
– – Payroll costs: $7,067.68

In-kind support from: P&D Ace Hardware
Funding generously provided by: The Wheeler Foundation and The Sorenson Legacy Foundation

Friday, November 6th, 2015


AmeriCorps VISTA Opening

In partnership with Epicenter, Habitat for Humanity of Castle Country is seeking AmeriCorps VISTA national service applicants to live, work, and play in Green River, Utah, and to serve the rural communities of Carbon & Emery Counties. This rugged frontier in the San Rafael Desert, between the Rockies and the Wasatch Mountains, has a population of 32,000 people living in 19 small communities spread over 6,000 square miles. Working alongside citizen architects, designers, planners, and artists serving the needs of their community, you’ll build the capacity of a fledgling Habitat affiliate that has completed seven new construction homes, one home renovation, and sixteen critical home repairs. You’ll gain invaluable and one-of-a-kind experience within the realm of public interest design in this alternative model of professional practice. To succeed, you’ll need to possess ingrained idealism, self-motivation, and an enthusiasm for affordable housing.

Habitat for Humanity of Castle Country needs most a person interested in developing the organization as a whole, strengthening the A Brush With Kindness (ABWK) home repair program, and raising funds to build new affordable housing. This VISTA will work within a partner organization’s office in Green River (Epicenter), receiving support in weaving regional housing assistance programs. This VISTA member will also promote environmental stewardship through encouraging the use of sustainable/green construction materials and facilitating energy efficiency home repairs. In year one, this VISTA member will reassess community conditions and assets related to housing; perform resource development for new construction, home repairs, and to hire executive staff; develop the Board of Directors; recruit volunteers; and create a volunteer management system. Beyond the twelve months, either you or a new VISTA recruit will, in year two, focus on intense board development, utilize year-one resources for new construction and home repairs, and manage volunteers with the new system. Year three will ensure the sustainability of programs and secure funds for operational staff.

This position is a twelve-month, full-time position that is able to be extended up to two additional years, or with successful fundraising, become a full-time salaried position. VISTA members receive a living allowance, a health insurance benefit, a travel allowance, pre-service orientation training, assistance in finding housing, and an education award of $5,730 or cash award of $1,500 at successful completion of service.

— College degree.
— US Citizen or work visa allowing national service.
— Passion for affordable housing and rural communities.
— Experience working with a non-profit charitable organization (specific experience with Habitat is a plus).
— Effective written and verbal communication (Spanish-language proficiency is a plus).
— Organizational, interpersonal, and customer service skills.
— Grant writing experience is a plus, but not required.
— Interest in rural issues, community development, affordable housing, and/or public interest design.

Workload and Compensation:
— Twelve months full-time employment beginning August 2015
— Living allowance of $973 per month
— 10 days paid vacation/10 days paid sick leave, for a total of 1960 work hours
— Up to $550 travel reimbursement
— Education award of $5,730 or cash award of $1,500
— Sunny summer days at the river beach just north of town

To apply, submit a letter of interest and resume/CV no later than June 3, 2015 to

More information on Habitat for Humanity can be found at

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015


Celebrating One Year of A Brush With Kindness!

In addition to Epicenter’s Fix It First home repair program, we also co-facilitate Habitat for Humanity of Castle Country’s A Brush With Kindness (ABWK) minor home repair program. Both programs target homes in need of repairs, maintenance, and minor construction projects. Fix it First focuses on solely Green River while Habitat covers a narrower range of projects over a larger area. Habitat and Epicenter are now celebrating their one year anniversary of the A Brush With Kindness program!

Since late 2013, Epicenter and Habitat for Humanity of Castle Country have partnered to assist homeowners in revitalizing their homes through A Brush With Kindness. This program is an offshoot of the main Habitat for Humanity International, which is an international non-profit organization known for building simple, decent, and affordable housing in partnership with people in need. A Brush With Kindness focuses on home repair for homeowners, primarily on the exterior of the house. Repairs to siding, roofing, and exterior paint are common projects. The program is designed to bring routine rehabilitation to improve the standard of living and help beautify communities.

Offering services to both Emery and Carbon Counties, the A Brush With Kindness program has completed seventeen projects thus far. Six of these projects have been completed in Emery County and eleven in Carbon County. Projects have ranged from repairing porches to installing safety ramps and replacing doors to fixing roofs. Homeowners attest that through A Brush With Kindness they “feel safer” and “could not have afforded [this repair] any other way.” One repair project solved pest issues and another project eliminated kitchen leaks. Another homeowner stated, “I feel safe now that I don’t have things flying off my roof that could hurt my kids.”

Recent partnerships include community members like Howard Burnett of Green River and Sherry Agnew of Columbia, Utah. Howard and his wife’s home had some problems with leaks in their roof and broken shingles. Habitat for Humanity of Castle Country was able to use extra shingles Howard had lying around to fix the roof at an affordable price. Sherry’s main concern was safety. She requested deadbolts on her doors as well as the safe removal of an debilitated carport roof.

To keep up-to-date on Habitat for Humanity of Castle Country’s efforts visit their blog and Facebook page.

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014


Bike and Build in Green River

On August 6-8, the Epicenter was visited by Bike & Build, a group of 31 young adults biking across the country from Providence, Rhode Island, to Half Moon Bay, California. The group stopped for a build day, one of only thirteen on this route, in Green River to work on three Fix It First projects, two Habitat for Humanity A Brush With Kindness projects, and the Epicenter building itself. The Epicenter crew was very excited to get so much work done in such a small amount of time.

The night before the build day, after a family-style meal, Green River town tour, and Bike & Build’s own presentation, Epicenter introduced all of the projects and split the group up into four teams.

The first team worked with Fix It First staff (Steph Crabtree and Armando Rios) on two home repair projects. On one of these projects, the group was split into smaller teams to work on replacing a window, patching a leaky roof, and building a larger front entry with handrails and a larger walking surface when entering the home. In the morning, the roof team left for an hour for an additional project, helping a local senior citizen keep her yard to the city’s code by removing weeds and trimming back some large bushes.

The second team worked with our Habitat for Humanity summer intern, Ellise Gallagher, on one A Brush With Kindness project and one Fix It First/Habitat for Humanity collaboration. In the morning this group of six Bike and Builders traveled across the river to Elgin to work on one project. This project was to recoat the roof of a trailer home, re-structure the porch awning to be more stable, and install rolled roofing over the awning to stop any future leaks above the homeowner’s front door. All of that was completed in the morning, after lunch the group traveled near the foot of the Book Cliffs to work on their second project, helping a senior citizen couple clear their yard of weeds; with all of the rain Green River has been seeing lately, some of the weeds were more than six feet tall! At a later date, Fix It First will revisit this couple’s home to cover exposed wire and plumbing.

Team three consisted of four Bike & Builder’s and our new Habitat for Humanity staff member, Jeff Adams. Their project was to recoat the roof of a trailer home that was in dire need of repair. This group’s efforts will ensure that the roof will not leak and the homeowner will live in a safe, dry place. After the group completed their work they traveled to other sites to lend a helping hand.

Team four worked on the Epicenter building. The cornice on the building had begun sagging and it was their mission to make needed repairs to improve its durability. Epicenter summer intern, Evan Rimoldi, led six Bike & Builders in this task, which included adding tie-backs to brace against the wind, which had caused the damage over the years.

A huge thanks goes out to Bike & Build for their hard work in our small town!! The impact of this group over the years has been enormous and without our initial $10,000 grant in November 2012 from Bike & Build to start Fix It First we would have not been able to complete 23 separate critical home repair projects to date.

For more information on Habitat for Humanity, visit For more information on Bike & Build visit their website at

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014


Ellise Gallagher, Epicenter Summer Intern

In addition to Evan Rimoldi, this week we welcome Ellise Gallagher to the Epicenter team. Ellise joins us as a Habitat for Humanity of Castle Country intern focused full-time on the A Brush With Kindness, a critical home repair program through Habitat. A Brush With Kindness is similar to Epicenter’s Fix It First program, but follows Habitat for Humanity guidelines and serves both Emery and Carbon Counties. Ellise will be working alongside Steph Crabtree, a returning summer inter. Keep an eye out for more information on Steph later this week. As an introduction, we asked Ellise some questions about herself.

Q: First, how do you say your first name? Ee-lees? Ah-lees-ee?
A: Ellise (Uh – lees) Gallagher (Gal – luh – gur)

Q: What are you currently doing?
A: I am enrolled in school at Auburn University studying architecture. Actually, I’m currently in Rome, Italy, with a study abroad program. (Editor’s note: Like Ellise, Epicenter’s co-founders, Jack Forninash, Rand Pinson, and Maria Sykes all attended Auburn University, studied architecture, and participated in the Rome study-abroad program.)

Q: What is your age, birth place, zodiac sign, Myers-Briggs type, and spirit animal?
A: I will be 21 on March 23. I was born in Heidelberg, Germany. I am an Aries, ENFJ, and my spirit animal is a gorilla.

Q: Do you have siblings? If so, where are you in birth order?
A: Yes, I have two sisters and one brother and I am the youngest of the bunch. I also have a brother-in-law, niece and nephew.

Q: What excites you about this internship position?
A: The things that excite me the most about this internship position are: meeting new people that share some of the same/similar interests as me, helping the people of Carbon and Emery Counties, experiencing the West, and learning from my colleagues, the locals, and the environment.

Q: How does this internship fit into your big picture/career/life?
A: As an architecture student, this internship fits into my future plans because I would like to pursue a life that involves helping people in need. I think coming to work and live out in Green River will help me learn how to understand processes, relationships, and communications needed to better the lives of others in a professional setting. Not everyone can afford expensive housing (things), but that doesn’t mean it can’t be healthy and beautiful.

Q: What book, movie, or person is significant to your work/process/life? Why?
A: The Poisonwood Bible was a really influential book to me. It reminds me that there are many different backgrounds and perspectives in the world and no one view is “correct.”

Q: If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?
A: I’m not specifically sure what super human power I would want, but I think something with being able to breathe and see under water would be super cool. I would love to explore the oceans just as conveniently as exploring on land.

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014


Internship Available

2013 Summer Interns (top left, Steph & Dan) with volunteers working on a critical home repair project in Green River, Utah

Epicenter, in partnership Habitat for Humanity of Castle Country (HFHCC), announces a short-term internship position available for their A Brush With Kindness (ABWK) home repair program. HFHCC seeks interested students and recent graduates of architecture, building science, social services, and/or other related fields to apply for an opportunity to assist HFHCC in meeting the needs of the communities in Carbon and Emery Counties through critical repairs on homes of partner families in need. This is an educational opportunity for students and recent graduates to learn about community development through real-world tangible improvements to houses for those in need. More information on the ABWK program is available here.

Applications are due to Jack Forinash, ABWK Program Manager, by e-mail ( no later than 3 PM MST Monday January 27, 2014. Position is available for the early spring or summer and runs for a term of three months, ending no later than August 2014. Application requirements are shown below.

Position requirements:
-desire to serve an underserved population in rural Utah
-willing and able to move to work under the direction of Jack Forinash in Green River, UT
-full-time position of 500 total hours over three months
-verbal and written communication proficiency and skilled in construction drawings
-on-site construction experience
-Microsoft Office, Adobe Suite, and AutoCAD proficiency
-proof of personal health insurance coverage
-prior experience with social service or design/build is a plus
-Spanish language proficiency is a plus

-$895 per month non-wage living stipend
-IDP credit available for qualified architecture students in project management, community service, and electives categories
-free lodging in Green River (communal housing with AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers)

Submit to by 3 PM MST Monday January 27, 2014, the following information as a PDF:
-Resume (limit to 2 pages)
-Portfolio of relevant work (not to exceed 6 MB)
-Statement of interest (limit to one page)

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014


Four projects complete

How do you take a photo of a window that is no longer there?

In any case, the Fix It First blitz is complete, with four projects completed, start to finish, in just one week. Along with the removal of the window you do not see above, the team replaced/repaired four windows, fixed a hole in the floor left from a sunken fireplace, and formed out a wheelchair ramp. This brings our total repair projects completed to-date to eight since August 2012.

As bonuses, the Thrift Store’s weeds were conquered and the Habitat for Humanity house completed last year got some additional landscaping and final exterior paint touches applied.

We could not have done it without our own committed, get-it-done staff of Armando (Program Manager), Steph, & Dan (Interns), our volunteers from Shepherd of the Mountains Lutheran Church out of Park City, our amazing and trusting clients, and our program partner, Bike & Build.

Friday, June 21st, 2013


December 15, 2012: Habitat for Humanity House Dedication

Some photos from the final month of work on the house.

That’s right! The first ever Habitat for Humanity House in Green River is nearing completion!!! We’ll be celebrating the house and the partner family, the Mendozas, on Saturday, December 15, 2012 at 12:00pm at 120 South Solomon in Green River, Utah. Please join us for this special house dedication.

Designed by the Epicenter, this house has a strong focus on durable and efficient materials! Details: 1064 SF, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2×6 construction (2′-on-center to increase insulation and reduce heat transfer), low-E double-glazed windows, 40-year warranty fiber-cement board siding, metla roof, well-insulated, 9′ interior ceiling heights with a vaulted ceiling in the living room, crawlspace construction, raised-heel trusses, whole house fan, hardwood floors, central heating and cooling.

Over the span of its construction, we’ve had over one-hundred volunteers donate thousands of hours on this house, including the Mendoza family who has put in over five-hundred hours. In addition to our amazing volunteers, this house was made possible through generous donations and partnerships:

The George S. and Delores D. Eccles Foundation
Dr. & Mrs. Steve Sykes
Positive Action Community Team
Rocky Mountain Power Foundation
Union Pacific Foundation
Scott Wilson
St. Joseph’s Collegiate Challenge
Private Donors
P&D Ace Hardware (Green River)
Valspar Paints
High Desert Excavating (Green River)
Dow Chemicals
Double E Construction (Green River)
Powerhouse Electric (Orem)
Moab Plumbing
Jones’ Paint & Glass (Provo)

Call us or email us if you have any questions about the house or the dedication ceremony at (435) 564-3330. See you there!!!

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012


Habitat House Update

The Epicenter team, lead by Armando and Jack, have made some great progress on our Habitat for Humanity House this past month! The month kicked off during the United Way Day of Caring where we had 22 volunteers donate their time for a grand total of 58 hours. During the Day of Caring the site was cleaned and weeded, a retaining wall was built, the whole-house fan was installed, and the concrete landing was poured for the front steps. The rest of the month, we were busy building the front steps and shoveling twenty-seven cubic yards of dirt behind the retaining wall. Additionally, the HVAC and the insulation (both first inch blown-in and batt) were installed! This weekend, we begin the drywall installation!!! We are aggressively trying to finish this house by mid-December.

If you would like to volunteer to help complete this house email Armando. If you would like to help out, but can’t make it to the site to volunteer, don’t worry we are always accepting donations!!!

Don’t forget to follow the Habitat for Humanity of Castle Country’s blog for regular updates.

Saturday, November 3rd, 2012