St. George is at 99% occupancy, no attainable housing according to city officials

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ST. GEORGE, Utah (ABC4) – St. George city officials say they are at 99% occupancy, meaning there’s no available housing in the community and it’s a crisis as local employers struggle to fill positions due to a lack of housing availability.

“Our school teachers, for instance, our healthcare workers, Dixie State has a challenging time hiring faculty, Intermountain is having a hard time hiring nurses and other folks because they can’t find housing here,” says Shirlayne Quayle, the Director of Economic Vitality & Housing for the City of St. George.

Quayle says the average price for a new home in Washington County is $500,000. The median income for a family of four in Washington County is only $69,700 a year.

“They can only afford maybe a $300,000-$350,000 home depending on interest rates and all those kinds of things,” she says.

She says the city has been catering to higher-income housing, but now, they’re finding strategies for low to moderate-income families.

“We want to have housing for all of our residents and that is regardless of your age or your income level,” she says.

The city is working with the Housing Action Coalition in Washington County. It’s a vast group with community leaders including – but not limited to – realtors, school officials, business owners, and hospital leaders.

“More duplexes, tiny homes, different types of housing that can still fit into a neighborhood and have a neighborhood feel,” she says.

They’re moving away from the term ‘affordable housing’ calling it ‘attainable housing’ instead. The city just approved tiny homes, that will be built on Dixie Drive.

“We’re not talking about having housing that is only an affordable housing complex that’s built sort of on the outskirts and sort of put people in one area, that has a stigma,” she says.

Quayle says the city and Washington County has a goal to bring 1,000 affordably-priced units to the area, in the next year.

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