SALT LAKE CITY — A tenant advocacy group is calling for the resignation of Salt Lake City’s redevelopment chief operator.
Their efforts come after multiple residents have been evicted from their low-income housing.
Evictions at these low-income housing units came about because they were sold to a Chicago developer, and even though that’s a private business, tenant advocates said this is a result of a misuse of taxpayer funds.
Down the street from the City Creek Center, The Annex sits with a rent sign still posted.
It’s not luxury, but Ian Decker with Wasatch Tenants United said it has been an affordable place to call home for many, until tenants received an eviction notice last week.
“The city will say they’re not playing a role in these mass evictions, but they are,” Decker said. “They are granting loans and they’re encouraging this development.”
Giving loans to developers creates an artificial inflation in rental and housing prices, according to Decker, who is organizing the protest at the Salt Lake City administrative buildings.
“I don’t think it’s possible to say that this is a crime of ignorance on the part of the city,” he said. “I think it’s a crime of priorities and intention.”
Along with their protest, Decker is calling for the resignation of Salt Lake City Redevelopment Agency (RDA) chief operator Danny Walz.
The press release calling out Walz was cosigned by Rose Park Brown Berets, Local Propagandists, Sex Worker Outreach Project, Just Media Utah, Utah Against Police Brutality, Party for Socialism and Liberation, and the Democratic Socialists of Salt Lake.
“I recognize their efforts and their concern,” Walz said.
He added that it’s discouraging to be taking the heat for implementing plans set by other government agencies.
“The affordability definition is extremely complicated,” Walz said. “We follow the county guidelines, which sets what the standards are.”
The RDA has spent seven million in nearly three years on affordable housing, according to Walz.
In a statement to FOX 13, the Salt Lake City Mayor’s Office wrote: “we agree that Salt Lakers need better access to stable affordable housing.” The money invested in 2020 alone, “will bring 305 affordable residential units online.”
Decker said their definition of affordable does not match those who are in need of low-income housing.
“We’re demanding the city stop these evictions by granting loans and luxury developments,” he said.
Tenants at The Annex have until the end of February to find new housing, Decker said.