SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) – Solving Salt Lake City’s affordable housing problems is going to require incentives for developers, said Mayor Jackie Biskupski in a news conference Tuesday.
Currently, close to half of renters in Salt Lake City pay at least 30 percent of their monthly income on rent, according to statistics presented by the Mayor’s Office.
24 percent of Salt Lake City renters pay about half of their monthly income on living expenses, Mayor Biskupski said.
“They can’t afford medical bills, they can’t afford entertainment in the city,” she said. “We want our community to be thriving, and having affordable housing allows for all the other elements of a city to thrive.”
The Mayor proposed a plan to mitigate residential housing loss by requiring builders – if they demolish an affordable housing property – to replace it with another one.
The other part of her plan proposed Tuesday would expand fee waivers to developers who agree to set aside 20 percent of their units and designate them as affordable housing for households making less than $48,000 annually.
That means newer developments downtown could potentially offer brand new apartments to lower-income families.
The waived fees would be covered by the sales tax general fund, Biskupski said Tuesday.
Both proposals would have to be adopted by the City Council.
The program would help people like Connor Prescott, 25, who struggled to make ends meet with his girlfriend just over a month ago.
Now, thanks to low income incentives and Biskupski’s program, he says he can live happier. He and his girlfriend rent at Liberty Blvd. Apartments downtown near 7th East and 5th South. Prescott, a personal trainer, says together he and his girlfriend – a student – only make around $35K a year.
“It causes a lot of unneeded stress,” he said.
Since Liberty Blvd. Apartments, owned by Cowboy Properties, has set aside affordable housing units under Biskupski’s plan, Prescott is able to afford to live downtown in a nice, brand new one-bedroom apartment.
Biskupski’s goal is to make more of these affordable units available downtown and elsewhere in Salt Lake City by 2022.
For more information on her plan, click here.