Sep 13, 2022 - News

Utah to invest $55 million in deeply affordable housing

Illustration of a hand placing a quarter into a house chimney

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Utah will invest $55 million to create 1,078 affordable to deeply affordable housing units throughout the state.

  • The Utah Homelessness Council approved the funds in a meeting last week.

The intrigue: Supported by American Rescue Plan Act funding, it's the largest investment in deeply affordable housing in the state's history.

State of play: Utah's homeless population grew last year, likely due to rising rent costs and the lack of affordable housing, according to state data.

  • The number of Utahns experiencing homelessness for the first time increased by 14% from 2021 to 2020.

By the numbers: Nearly $30 million will go toward funding affordable housing in Salt Lake County, while the rest will support projects in Iron, Sevier, Utah, Washington, and Weber counties.

Affordable housing funding awarded to select Utah counties, 2022
Data: Utah Department of Workforce Services; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

What they're saying: "This funding creates deeply affordable housing units that will be coordinated through local councils and will target those experiencing homelessness," said Sarah Nielson, a public information officer for the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

Context: The Utah Legislature approved the funds earlier this year through S.B. 238.

Of note: The Utah Homelessness Council also approved the addition of 340 winter overflow beds in Salt Lake County as colder weather approaches.

  • The former Calvin Smith Library in Millcreek will be utilized as a winter overflow location.

The latest: A coalition of faith leaders sent Cox and legislative leadership a letter yesterday calling for additional funds to reduce homelessness.

  • "It is critical that faith communities support state and city initiatives for safe, affordable housing and related support services and case management for our brothers and sisters who need shelter," said Rev. Deacon Elizabeth Hunter of the Cathedral Church of St. Mark, who signed the letter.

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