Have a Heart Homes Helps Address the Crises in Affordable Housing

Northern Wasatch Association of Realtors Advice

Readers of this column and those of you who have been following other numerous media reports over the past few months know that there is a critical shortage of affordable housing in northern Utah. In fact, one recent report shows that Utah has a need for 43,000 affordable housing units, posing an almost insurmountable challenge.

And while the affordable housing crises is especially acute right now, your local Realtors and Home Builders have been addressing the situation since 1998 with our Have a Heart Homes non-profit foundation.

Nearly every year, Realtors and Home Builders in Northern Utah have secured an affordable lot, engaged a home builder, and raised funds to help offset the costs of construction. The general contractor and the numerous subs pitch in and discount their fees to construct the home according to the highest standards. Assistance with mortgage closing costs is also usually available.

In the past, numerous families with special needs children have been the beneficiaries of the homes and adjustments to floor plans have been made in some instances to accommodate their particular situations.

As an association of over 1,500 licensed Realtors and affiliates including title and loan officers, the Northern Wasatch Association of Realtors, in partnership with the Northern Wasatch Association of Home Builders, takes tremendous pride in our combined efforts to enable first-time homeowners in realizing the American Dream of home ownership.

It’s all part of our commitment to promote, defend, and fight for home ownership for all Utahns.

On June 21, Realtors and Home Builders gathered in Layton for the groundbreaking of our 2017 Have a Heart Home. The home will be constructed by Stuart Smith’s Mainline Construction of Layton, a veteran builder of Have a Heart Homes. The home will be finished in about five months.

“We feel strongly about helping people get into a home and will do everything in our power to keep our costs as low as possible,” said Smith.

The lot was donated by Layton City, another tremendous partner who has come to the aid of Have a Heart Homes several times in the past.

Said Kent Anderson, Layton City’s Economic Development Director, “When we can identify a remnant parcel we’re always pleased to join with our local Realtors and Home Builders. We want affordable and quality homes in our growing community.”

A critical need right now is to obtain additional applications especially if construction accommodations need to be made during the early phases.

To make application and to get more information, call 801 476-4216 or visit our website at nwaor.com to download an application. A Have a Heart Homes video may also be viewed on our website.

Robert Grow, President and CEO of Envision Utah, wrote recently about the Utah affordable housing crises and noted that according to the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah, single-family home prices in Utah are up over 8 percent from 2016. He also urged policymakers at the local and state level to never enact laws and ordinances that would stymie growth. “We need to build the housing supply to meet the demand and not go down the road that California did some years ago to impose restraints on growth.

Our members and affiliates are professionals with experience and training to assist any family with obtaining just the right home. That’s why I encourage you to contact your local Realtor. You’ll find individuals with a deep commitment to their communities and our combined quality of life. And that’s only a few reasons why we’re so proud of the accomplishments of Have a Heart Homes over the past 19 years. We look forward to leading this initiative for many years to come.


Sonya Smithing
2017 President, Northern Wasatch Association of REALTORS