At least one half of Salt Lake City housing stock is rental. More than a quarter of renters spend 50 percent or more of their paycheck on housing costs.
“While we need deeply affordable housing for people experiencing homelessness, we also need housing for people at all income levels. Even our teachers, police officers and young families can’t afford to live in Salt Lake City,” observes Derek Kitchen, Salt Lake City Council member representing downtown and central city, in a recent Salt Lake Tribune oped.
“With an overflowing emergency homeless shelter and people camping on 500 West, we must work to get people into housing quickly. We must work with other local governments and private enterprises, as well as non-profit and religious organizations, to place our chronically homeless neighbors into stable housing as soon as possible,” Kitchen said.
The City Council acting as the Redevelopment Agency (RDA), recently set new policy and budgeted more than $20 million for affordable housing. “Much of this money comes from old accounts that have been sitting dormant, or from proposed projects that reflect older city priorities that had no timelines or specific funding targets,” he explained. One of the primary goals of the RDA is to encourage the development of housing for low to moderate income households.
With a two percent apartment vacancy rate in the City, the situation boils down to basic supply and demand. With this $20 million investment, the City can provide seed money in various ways to incentivize needed projects and a new Community Land Trust to acquire land sooner and provide affordability longer.
Horizonte, Salt Lake City School District’s alternative high school and adult education center, provides an accommodating, safe and encouraging environment for scores of homeless youth and hundreds of youth and adults from low income families. Horizonte’s goal is to lift them all through high school and provide incentive for those who desire to continue to applied tech and college with the help of Horizonte privately funded scholarships. Your support is needed.