Located along I-70 in Emery County, the rural community of Green River, Utah, has experienced various economic cycles as a result of the railroad boom, uranium and coal mining, agriculture, and a military missile base. Each of these industries has either declined dramatically or departed the region altogether, leaving behind a community with a fraction of the population it once had. But for a lucky 952 people, Green River, Utah, is home. 

Ironically, decades of decreasing population have not resulted in a surplus of affordable housing for Green River. According to Green River’s 2014 Housing Plan (James Wood, Kem Gardner Policy Institute):

  • The average age of a house in town is 56 years old.
  • 46% of the housing stock is in need of repairs.
  • 14% of homes sit vacant and in need of rehabilitation (or demolishment).
  • One-third of the population lives in mobile homes which make up 14% of the homes in town (compared to a 6% national average).
  • 69% of mobile homes in town were manufactured prior to the 1976 adoption of the Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards, making them no longer suitable for occupancy.
  • 12% of the housing stock is rental units; only eight housing units are considered “affordable.”
  • None of the apartment units in town are ADA accessible or appropriate for those able to age-in-place.

The demand for rental housing is incredibly high in Green River, where there hasn’t been an affordable housing development under construction since the 1970’s. Individuals impacted most by the shortage tend to be low and moderate income workers such as teachers, public safety officials, and young adults. For example, in a recent survey of employers in the community, 70% of respondents have employees that are struggling to find housing that is of sufficient quality for their families.

Epicenter, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, is the sole member of Epicenter Properties, LLC., the owner/operator of Canal Commons.

Epicenter stewards creative initiatives that honor the past, strengthen the present, and build the future that we envision with our community. Located in Green River, Utah, Epicenter is a vibrant hub for rural investment and cultural exploration of the high desert of southeastern Utah. Beyond our region, Epicenter advocates for rural communities and contributes to the dialogue on contemporary place-based work in the United States. Epicenter is a 501(c)(3) public charity nonprofit organization.