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Groups Urge Salt Lake City Mayor, RDA To Act Quickly On Affordable Housing

Whittney Evans
Advocates gather outside city hall Friday to urge action on low-income housing.

The Salt Lake City Council, acting as the Redevelopment Agency is set to approve $21 million for homeless projects and affordable housing, but advocates are asking if the mayor is on board.

The RDA board, which is also the city council is scheduled to finalize the proposal next Tuesday. But low-income housing advocates like Tim Funk, with Crossroads Urban Center say they need reassurance from Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski that she supports the plan.

“We have been sidetracked, put down, ignored and neglected on dozens of issues, so sure we’re worried,” Funk says. “Where is this mayor who said she was an advocated for low-income people? We know she cares, but by George, we don’t know where the hell she is on this.”

With roughly 7500 affordable housing units needed in Salt Lake City, city officials have called the shortage a crisis. The RDA worked for months to identify unspent funds from various RDA projects.

Biskupski’s spokesman, Matthew Rojas says affordable housing is a top priority for the mayor, but she doesn’t want to put other projects on the backburner.

“What we have been doing is working to sort of find funding so that we can reinstate those projects,” Rojas says. “We’re confident that we can fund the projects that are important to various parts of the city and also fund that affordable housing project.”

Rojas says the mayor plans to unveil a long-term funding plan for affordable housing next month.

The advocacy groups gathered Friday recommended adopting an $80 million tax levy. Rojas says the mayor is considering all options, including potential bonds or levies. 

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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