Mountainlands Housing Trust celebrates 20 years
June 21, 2013
When the Mountainlands Community Housing Trust formed in 1993, the nonprofit organization’s goal was to "primarily create, preserve and advocate for affordable housing in Summit and Wasatch counties, said Executive Director Scott Loomis.
In the past 12 years alone, the Trust has built 145 homes and 99 apartments to help carry out its mission.
"We’ve also acquired another 66 complexes, so we own a total of 253 affordable rental units," Loomis said during an interview with The Park Record.
On Monday, June 24, the Mountainlands Community Housing Trust will celebrate its 20th anniversary at the Snow Park Lodge at Deer Valley from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m.
The event is free and open to the public.
Loomis said the celebration is not a fundraiser.
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"We just want to celebrate the people who have been involved with us in these past two decades and who have helped getting us to where we are today," he said. "We will recognize former staff and board members as well as organizations and other individuals who have made contributions and helped us throughout the years"
One of the honorees will be Bob Wells, the president of Mountainlands’ board of trustees, who has been with the Trust since its inception, Loomis said.
"In the early days, not too much was happening and Bob was instrumental in getting our first project, which was Washington Mill Apartments, off the ground," he said.
Washington Mill is comprised of eight two-bedroom units located on Daly Avenue, and the rent ranges from $650 to $930, depending on the qualifying tenants annual income.
"Bob has managed and maintained all of the repairs in those apartments since they were built in 1995," Loomis said. In addition, Wells also helped with building and establishing the Peace House, a nonprofit organization that not only provides a safe haven for the abused, but also aims to break the cycle of domestic violence through outreach and education.
"He has been on our executive committee all these years, and we would not be where we are today if it wasn’t for him," Loomis said.
Recently, the Trust has implemented a number of additional programs that provide housing opportunities for families.
"One is the Mutual Self-Help Program that helps families work together with a construction supervisor to build their own homes," Loomis said. "The other is the Transitional Housing Program that provides housing for people who are temporarily homeless."
The Trust currently has 10 living units and will soon have 12 units for this program.
"When it first started, we usually found the ones that needed this service came from domestic violence situations," Loomis said. "Now we’re seeing more people who are becoming temporarily homeless because of foreclosures or the loss of jobs.
"You don’t really think of homelessness when you think of Park City or Summit County, but the Transitional Housing Program is a valuable program that has helped more than 100 families and 200 people since 2003," he said. "Most people stay in the program between five and eight months, so we have a fair amount of turnover, but the goal is to get the people who need this program into permanent housing."
Loomis said any organization that is devoted to affordable-housing development is in for a challenge.
"It is extremely difficult because every project requires several layers of financing, and a lot of that is competitive financing," he said. "However, I think the most encouraging thing I’ve seen is that both Park City and Summit County have ‘inclusionary zoning’ in their land-management codes."
That means developers of both residential and business areas need to make provisions for affordable housing to mitigate their developments.
"So that is very helpful to us," Loomis said.
Throughout his time with Mountainlands Community Housing Trust, Loomis has seen how the organization has changed lives.
"The other day I was pumping gas and ran into a guy who had built his home 10 years ago," Loomis remembered. "He told me how much he loved his home and the community he lives in.
"Then I attended a nonprofit gathering the other night and one of the people hosting the event was one of the people who went through our transitional-housing program," he said. "And I’ve had waitresses come up to me and say, ‘I have a home because of you.’"
This is what the 20th anniversary celebration is all about.
"We want to give kudos to the people who have made all this happen and Deer Valley resort is kind enough to co-sponsor it with us," he said.
Mountainlands Community Housing Trust (MCHT) will celebrate its 20-year anniversary on Monday, June 24, from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. at the Snow Park Lodge at Deer Valley Resort. The event is free and open to the public and is co-sponsored by Deer Valley Resort. For more information, visit http://www.housinghelp.org, or http://www.facebook.com/mchtparkcity.