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NeighborWorks Salt Lake Questions Need for New Low Income Housing on West Side

Nan Palmero via Creative Commons

A local non-profit that works to revitalize neighborhoods and help families purchase homes says Salt Lake City has too many low-income housing units on the city’s west side.  

The Salt Lake City Council voted last week to allow Salt Lake County, in conjunction with developer Vecino Group to build an 80-unit apartment complex on South Temple, just west of I-15. Bodhi Apartments will provide about 20 market-rate units. The rest of the apartments will be lower-cost housing for families, the chronically homeless and people with disabilities.

“I think that low-income populations should have a choice of where they want to live,” says Maria Garciaz, executive director of NeighborWorks Salt Lake. “They shouldn’t have to live where they build the housing.”

Garciaz says while it costs less to build low-income housing on the west side, it segregates the community.  She would prefer to see more low-income housing built throughout the city and more market-rate housing on the west side. She says the new apartment complex will put additional stress on an already overloaded community.

“So families come to the neighborhood and they have children,” Garciaz says. “They’re going to go to Jackson Elementary. Jackson Elementary is bursting at the seams with kids already. They don’t have enough teachers.”

David Litvack is Deputy Chief of Staff for Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski. He says the administration supports the project.

“It is consistent with the mayor’s goal of creating affordable housing and low-income opportunities across the city in a way that models mixed incomes,” Litvack says.

Litvack says Salt Lake City has projects underway in other areas of the city like the Bodhi apartments. He noted the old Salt Lake City public safety building on 300 west and 200 south is being transformed into mixed-income housing.  

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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