NORTH OGDEN -- Extra-wide hallways, railings beside the toilets, and showers a wheelchair can roll into are a few of the special touches awaiting the deserving family that ends up with a new home built for the Have a Heart program as part of Fair Housing Month.
Since 1998, Northern Wasatch Association of Realtors and Northern Wasatch Home Builders Association have partnered to provide a home at a substantial discount to military families and special-needs families in the area.
Northern Wasatch Association of Realtors President Bob Hill said the program is not limited to that criteria, however, and overall they look to help people with median incomes who don't have much of a chance of buying a home under normal circumstances.
"We just want a very deserving person to get in that property," he said.
This year, the Have a Heart program is looking for someone with mobility and accessibility issues to buy the almost completed home at 469 E. 1625 North in North Ogden.
Hill did not discuss the final selling price, but the house is estimated to be worth about $200,000, not including the donations.
"This is a brand-new home from the ground up," Hill said. "It's kind of a great way for the Realtor community to give back. We know that if you can get into a house, it kind of changes families for generations."
The Association of Realtors started the program by refurbishing existing homes.
Within a few years, the Northern Wasatch Home Builders Association joined the effort and helped construct new homes in Davis and Weber counties.
Last year, the program built four homes, including a few in the Liberty neighborhood in Ogden, with support of the city.
This year's home has been built in Nilson Homes' Cold Springs Village subdivision. Nilson Homes has worked with the project for about a decade, spearheading much of the construction.
Jed Nilson, with Nilson Homes, said the goal for this home was to make it completely wheelchair accessible without making the home expensive.
There are many veterans and elderly people who need an accessible home, but can't afford it, Nilson said.
"That's why we're so excited about it," Nilson said. "It has been great to provide an affordable home through the program. Now it's nice to provide an accessible home through the program."
To keep costs down in all of the homes built for the program, many contractors and businesses have donated time and materials, knocking about 25 percent off of the total price.
Additional donations include cash for appliances and even land on which to build the home.
What has not been donated is usually purchased at a discount. Organizers raise additional money through fundraisers held throughout the year.
The program also helps work with the buyers to obtain a loan, sometimes going as far as helping to fix credit problems.
"I would encourage everyone to apply," Hill said. In the past, only a few people did not qualify because of credit issues.
As the program does not subsidize taxes and future expenses, organizers keep in mind the future cost of utilities and taxes for the buyers.
"We're not building anything excessive," Nilson said. "This home is still a fairly small home."
Continuing to take accessibility into account, the program chose the Cold Springs neighborhood for this home because yard maintenance and snow removal are included.
"They can live in the home and enjoy it and not have to have the added expense of having to pay someone to remove the snow," Nilson said.
People interested in the home can email Linda Hampson at email@example.com or contact any member of the Realtors association.