City forming plan to deal with affordable housing crisis

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – Salt Lake City is experiencing a housing crisis and city officials are scrambling to find solutions. There is worry if it’s not tackled soon it could start having a negative impact on businesses and residents.

Normally in city planning it’s in terms of 10 to 20 years, but officials are trying to tackle this issue within the next 5 which is a big deal. Salt Lake City Council and Mayor Jackie Biskupski say not solving it could lead to more traffic and headaches in the future.

“We’ve accelerated this plan because we don’t see any changes in that crisis in the immediate future,” said Stan Penfold, Council Chair.

City leaders say the city is in a deficit of around $8,000 affordable housing units.
The low vacancy rates are driving up prices so high people often are forced move to other cities. This can lengthen commutes and causes another host of issues.

“That immediately starts to impact our air quality and quality of life, and our transportation systems, so there are a lot of costs accounted to high housing costs,” said Penfold.

To tackle the problem the mayor and city council have a five-year housing plan, and $21 million. Which will be a mix of apartments town homes, and even possibly allowing “mother in law apartments” on private property. Some residents believe the problem could be solved if city gives up some of its empty lots to developers.

“A perfect storm of opportunity right now. The market is hot. You’d be created the financing tool so get your properties in the hands of developers,” said Sorsen Simsonsen, resident.

Residents also point out that for those most in need of affordable housing that other services might be needed to make sure the issue of homelessness continues to be reduced in the future.

“Resources must be collocates for these supportive services or we risk another revolving door of eviction and institutionalization,” said Shawn McMillen, resident.

City officials also worry about a lack of affordable housing impacting economic growth in the future. Even people who live in the city may not be able to afford to live here once they sell their homes. The council will have another public hearing on this housing plan on November 21.

They expect to adopt a full plan sometime in December.

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