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Looking for ways to bring more affordable housing to Utah

Since 2000, housing prices are up 60 to 70 percent
Posted at 1:08 PM, Feb 19, 2020

SALT LAKE CITY — People across the state of Utah are looking at ways to bring more affordable housing to the state.

Orem Mayor Richard Brunst says Orem is just one city in the state dealing with the housing crisis.

“Since 2000, housing prices are up 60 to 70 percent," Brunst said. "So where housing was affordable, 10 to 15 years ago, housing is now becoming unaffordable for the average person and that’s a real concern to me."

Mayor Brunst says the toughest problem he sees in his community is with people living in apartments that want to move into a home and can’t do that because prices are too high and wages aren’t increasing.

“We want to have housing types for different areas, and for different families to be able to afford,” Brunst said.

Tara Rollins, the Executive Director of the Utah Housing Coalition says one group that’s really feeling the squeeze, is senior citizens.

“The seniors that are being priced out of the market, they’re not getting their leases renewed" Rollins said. "And they’re already paying over 50 percent of their income to housing."

On Wednesday, a possible solution was being discussed. It’s Senate Bill 39. A bill that requests $35 million for rental assistance, housing the homeless and gap financing.

“If somebody has a home then they can grow their health, have better outcomes, school and they’re just more stable,” Rollins said.

Another bill being discussed is House Bill 211.

The bill would require landlords to disclose all rental fees before accepting an application from potential renters.

While both bills might not be a complete solution to the problem, members of the coalition say they are a step in the right direction.