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‘Section 8’ program helps Utahns pay their rent if they can’t pay what market demands

Posted at 1:12 PM, Jan 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-21 15:12:19-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Thousands of Utahns who don't have a place to say are getting a helping hand from two groups, The Housing Authority of Salt Lake City and Housing Connect.

Utah's economy has been booming over the past several years.

The downside is that thousands of Utahns can`t afford a roof over their heads due to a shortage of affordable housing.

The Section 8 Voucher Program tries to bridge the gap.

The average rent of a two bedroom apartment in Salt Lake County is now estimated to be about $1000 a month.

Families or individuals with an average, annual income of  $14,000 can only afford to pay about $300 per month for rent and still have money left over for food and utilities.

"I would be able to pay the gas and electric without having to worry about it," said one low-income Utah resident. "And with the food stamps, I'd have food all month long, it would be a complete turnaround."

The Section 8 Voucher is a federally funded program that helps those who qualify make up the difference in rent so they also afford to eat and pay utilities.

The program however operates at full capacity and the waiting list hasn't been open for more than five years.

It re-opened Tuesday meaning people can sign up, hoping to become eligible as others leave the program.

"And so what the Section 8 program does is it bridges the difference between what you're seeing on the market and what they're able to afford to pay," said Janice Kimball, CEO of Housing Connect

There are only about 2,600 vouchers available but Kimball says between 25 and 30 people leave the program through attrition each month.

Fore more information on the Section 8 Program,click here.