POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Salt Lake sets aside millions for affordable housing units in the city

Sep 21, 2021, 7:57 PM
(Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, at podium, announcing $8 million dollars set aside for affor...
(Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, at podium, announcing $8 million dollars set aside for affordable housing. Photo: Paul Nelson)
(Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, at podium, announcing $8 million dollars set aside for affordable housing. Photo: Paul Nelson)

SALT LAKE CITY – City leaders have announced that another $8 million has been set aside to make more affordable housing units in Salt Lake City.

They said this is part of an ongoing effort that has built more affordable housing units in Salt Lake than all other Utah cities combined. 

Related: Plans for development to include affordable housing on prison land

This is the fourth year the city’s Redevelopment Agency has set aside funds to create more housing.  City Council Member Ana Valdemoros said the RDA has a long history of making housing more affordable, investing millions of dollars for projects across the city since 2010. 

“In just the last 12 months, since September of 2020, 333 affordable units, funded in part by the RDA, have become homes for Salt Lake City residents,” Valdemoros said.

The Mya Apartments, sign on the right, and the Avia Apartments, in the background, offer micro-units for low-income residents. Photo: Paul Nelson.

However, Mayor Erin Mendenhall said the need for housing has exploded in recent years, and they’re considering any possible solution.

She cites as an example the Mya and Avia apartment complexes downtown.  They provide micro-units, which are smaller than most hotel rooms, but they provide bed space, living space and kitchens.  Mendenhall said they’re also considering more tiny homes and mother-in-law dwellings.

“The number of units, per capita, are exponentially greater in the last few years than almost every year since 1980,” she said.

A large portion of this money, $2.7 million, will be designated for “high opportunity areas.” They are described as spots within the city that are close to things like public transport, which help expand a resident’s “social mobility.”  Mendenhall said Salt Lake is doing more to build affordable housing than many other large cities in the west.

“Salt Lake City is producing more housing units, per capita, than Los Angeles, the state of Utah [and] all of Salt Lake County,” said Mendenhall.

Related: Utah pledges $50 million for homeless relief and affordable housing

What’s to be done with this $8 million? Mendenhall said that’s still up for discussion, so they’re not certain when these new units would be available.

“That’s really up to the developers who are yet to bring us proposals,” she said.

The Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) will be open until the end of October.  Officials said the funding will only be given to proposals that meet the following guidelines:

  • Include residential units targeted to underserved populations;
  • Provide housing for families;
  • Provide units for affordable homeownership;
  • Ensure equitable access to variety of transportation options;
  • Encourage equitable geographic distribution of affordable housing; and
  • Provide long-term affordability.

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Salt Lake sets aside millions for affordable housing units in the city