The Salt Lake City Council acting as the Redevelopment Agency voted Tuesday to set aside as much as $21 million for affordable housing in the city. They also found money to purchase sites for the new homeless shelters.
Multiple studies have shown vacant apartments in Salt Lake City are now few and far between. But it’s even tougher to find a place to live if you don’t have a job, lost a job or just don’t make enough money to afford today’s market rate options. Councilwoman and RDA Board vice chair Lisa Ramsey Adams says the board, seeing the urgent need for affordable housing combed through the RDA budget for funding intended for projects that aren’t a priority.
“We wanted to make a statement that we’re ready to do something major for housing because we see homelessness and housing as parallel tracks.” Adams says.
Adams says this could include vouchers for housing, city-owned or incentives for developers to build mixed income housing.
Andrew Johnston voted against the measure. He wanted Mayor Biskuspski, who is also executive director of the RDA Board to be involved.
“$20 million as a starting place for affordable housing? That’s huge,” Johnston said. “I love that concept and I would vote for it this month or next month. I just wanted to respect their wishes to have a little time to at least look at it.”
Mayor Jackie Biskupski did not respond to a request for comment by deadline. The council and RDA board will decide exactly what to do with the money in the coming weeks.