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Grant funds available for non-profits

SKYLER BELL, Of the Record staff

The Park City Board of Realtors has funds available for qualified Summit or Wasatch County non-profit organizations that provide affordable housing to Utah citizens, a news release said.

Grant applications will be accepted through July 7 for the program known as the Utah Association of Realtors Housing Opportunity Fund, or UARHOF, which has distributed $17,635 to local non-profit housing projects since its inception in 1999.

"UARHOF, a non-profit foundation created by the Utah Association of Realtors, was established to assist other non-profit organizations that deal with affordable housing needs by offering grants," the release said. "UARHOF funds are accumulated from interest earned on real estate trust accounts and through contributions. The majority of the monies collected are returned to the community from which they were donated, with a portion set aside in a statewide fund for special statewide projects and disaster relief."

PCBR CEO Sharon Woodbury said brokers sign on to the program, and each is given an interest-earning trust account from which the interest is periodically swept into the fund and dispersed.

PCBR President Betty Brown said that in the past the grants have gone to such organizations as Mountainland Community Housing and Habitat for Humanity, who then take the money and use it in the community to help with affordable housing.

"It’s perpetual, so it builds constantly," she said. "But formerly, business trust funds weren’t able to earn interest and that changed in 1998 to allow earnest money deposit funds to earn interest if and only if it’s given to UARHOF in our state."

She also said although they accept applications twice per year and that it’s always a hard decision, the board wants more applicants to choose from.

"We always get quite a few, but we welcome as many as we can get," she said. "We’re always looking for ways to give back and ways to help. This is one that is very beneficial, but is automatic for us."

Brown said the organization focuses on helping both victims of emergency situations and those whose income level is less than 50 percent of the average income in the local area.

"It’s encouraging the real estate professionals in the area to impact affordable housing issues," Brown said. "There’s a perception that realtors aren’t as concerned about affordable housing, or the lower priced homes, but it’s the opposite. We’re actually concerned that there aren’t more lower priced homes. And we don’t mean affordable housing that turns out to be a half million-dollar condo in the second phase. That doesn’t help a lot."

The news release also said that "to qualify for funding from UARHOF, a charitable organization must have received a determination letter from the Internal Revenue Service qualifying the organization under Section 501 (c) 3 of the Federal Tax Code. In addition, an applicant may be a governmental agency, housing authority or other entity that conducts activities consistent with the purposes of the grant program.

"Upon approval of funding, the applicant will be required to sign a grant contract in order to ensure that the funds are used in accordance with the approved application."

Although only Summit and Wasatch County organizations are eligible for the funds, UARHOF is a statewide organization with many boards that disperse their own funds periodically.

"The National Association of Realtors is very much behind UARHOF, and we are at the state level as well," Brown said.

For more information on UARHOF or to apply for funds, contact the Park City Board of Realtors at (435) 649-4112 or visit their website at http://www.utahrealtors.com. Links for UARHOF are available on the bottom-left side of the start-up screen.


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