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Murray Journal

NeighborWorks helps paint houses, take care of yards

Jun 04, 2024 01:32PM ● By Bailey Chism

Volunteers gather for the Paint Your Heart Out event 2023. (Photo from NeighborWorks Murray Facebook)

NeighborWorks works in partnership with Murray residents, government and businesses to create neighborhoods by providing opportunities for housing, resident and youth leadership, financial education and economic development. 

The company was founded in 1977 in response to neighborhoods being blighted as a result of disinvestment and red lining. Residents, lending institutions, and the Salt Lake City government came together to raise funds to establish the first community development corporation in the Salt Lake area to focus on neighborhood revitalization. 

Murray City partnered with NeighborWorks in 2009 when they addressed housing needs in their Housing Market Analysis. 

“We help revitalize neighborhoods and help residents by offering home improvement grants to help make health and safety repairs in homes that need a new roof, water heater, [and] electrical,” said CEO Maria Garciaz. 

NeighborWorks holds two community events to bring in volunteers and help those in the community. Every August, about 250 volunteers from businesses, community organizations, and corporations come together to paint the homes of individuals with disabilities, veterans and limited-income homeowners in the annual Paint Your Heart Out event. 

Since it began in 1985, NeighborWorks has painted over 823 homes in the community. Their goal of helping homeowners who cannot physically or financially paint their homes has a positive impact on more than just the home. By revitalizing one home, the owners will feel like a cherished part of the community, neighbors will be inspired to spruce up their homes, and volunteers can know they truly made a difference for someone. 

Aside from their August event, NeighborWorks also holds a community event every November, where volunteers clean up the yards of those who cannot do it themselves. The Rake Your Heart Out garners about 100 volunteers. 

“Volunteers have a fulfilling experience helping these individuals,” Garciaz said. 

NeighborWorks Murray also has funds available to Murray City residents to access home improvement loans with flexible rates and guidance. Their loans and grants range from five to 25 years and residents can secure up to 20% of their homes appraised value or a maximum amount of $45,000. 

NeighborWorks is kicking off a new program this summer, a community land trust. Garciaz said a community land trust is a shared equity program where the land will be in a trust and the home (structure of the house) will be what the buyer will need to qualify for. This will reduce the amount of mortgage they need to qualify for. When the home is sold, they share the equity with the land trust, but still build some equity that they might use to purchase a new home. λ