POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Grants approved to help Utah law enforcement buy a home

Jul 13, 2022, 7:30 AM | Updated: Aug 2, 2022, 10:39 am
A “for sale” sign is displayed outside of a house in Layton. 
Photo: Shafkat Anowar, Deseret Ne...
A “for sale” sign is displayed outside of a house in Layton. Photo: Shafkat Anowar, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY–  First responders have taken their share of the load over the last few years of pandemic, unrest and in some places a spike in crime.

Police officers, who struggle like many Americans to find affordable housing, are getting some much-needed help.

The “Utah First Time Home Buyer Law Enforcement Grant,”  aims to bring relief to some Utah law enforcement officers with 320 available grants.

Scott Buchanan, spokesman for First Response Mortgage Team, said the grants are on a first come first serve basis. Grants cover cover up to 3.5% of the cost of the home to be purchased, up to $25,000. 

The grants do not need be repaid if the recipient remains an officer for five years.

Grant eligibility 

All Utah law enforcement officers including correctional officers who are considered first time home buyers, those or haven’t owned a home in the last three years, single parents and those who more recently sold a home due to separation from a spouse are eligible.

Buchanan is one of the licensed mortgage loan officers that the Utah Housing Authority has approved to connect law enforcement officers to this special program.

Buchanan said his loan officers at First Response Mortgage Team are all current or retired law enforcement officers themselves.

“As a deputy chief of police managing our department’s recruitment and retention efforts, I learned first-hand the effort that law enforcement agencies invest into hiring and keeping the very best police officers,” Buchanan said.

“Finding suitable housing has always been a challenge for our officers, but in today’s market and particularly in Utah, it can seem like ‘mission impossible’. Fortunately, the Utah Legislature has really thrown us a lifeline with this program,” Buchanan continued. 

Buchanan noted that Utah’s strong force of police officers is not immune to the struggle going on around the rest of the nation, with many forces seeing increased vacancies amid a spike in crime.

Buchanan said many city administrators are trying their best, but acknowledged an officer’s salary often does not keep up with the ever increasing cost of home ownership, especially here in Utah.

The Utah Legislature authorized the grants for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2022.

Related: Demand exceeds supply, so home prices will keep climbing in Utah


 

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Grants approved to help Utah law enforcement buy a home