$35 Million Affordable Housing Bill Passes Senate, But Faces Funding Challenges
A $35 million housing bill passed the Utah Senate 16-11 Wednesday, although its sponsor does not think it will be fully funded.
One in eight Utah households is cost-burdened by their housing, meaning they pay more than half of their income towards it.
The bill by Sen. Jake Anderegg, R-Lehi, seeks to address concerns over that housing affordability.
“We are trying with this effort to prevent people from becoming homeless where we can spend a little resources up front versus a lot of resources with intervention,” Anderegg said.
It includes $15 million toward rental assistance, $5 million toward the preservation of affordable housing and $15 million that private builders can leverage to fund affordable housing construction.
“We have tried to tackle an exceedingly difficult problem, one that I fully acknowledge is not going to be solved by government,” Anderegg said. “[But] the government plays a role.”
But some senators grumbled at the high price tag and said this amounted to government overreach.
“George Washington would roll over in his grave if he knew we were putting this many millions of government dollars into fixing people’s housing situations,” said Sen. Allen Christensen, R-Ogden, who voted against the bill.
Legislative leaders have said the general fund budget is tight this year, and Anderegg said the bill’s funding will likely be reduced as a result.
Sonja Hutson covers politics for KUER. Follow her on Twitter @SonjaHutson