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Lawmaker pushes bill to make housing affordable in Utah

Posted at 4:51 PM, Feb 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-28 18:51:53-05

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill intended to address Utah’s affordable housing needs is moving forward.

House Bill 462 would provide more than $100 million to promote housing development.

Some of the bill’s highlights include allocating $50 million for gap financing for tax credit projects, allocating $50 million to the rural housing fund for loans, and creating a database that tracks moderate-income housing.

An amended version of the bill is expected to include provisions that encourage high density housing near transit lines.

“We have a 50,000 unit demand and zero supply at this point,” said Rep. Steve Waldrip (R-Eden), the bill’s sponsor. “The intent of this bill is not to buy more housing, it's to create opportunities for private industries to come in and create more housing. That really is the only solution.”

The bill received a positive recommendation from the House Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee. However, that support was not unanimous.

Some committee members who represent Utah’s rural communities questioned some of the bill’s provisions they believe are mandates.

“We are talking about money to go to low income housing and I keep having this Pink Floyd thing in my head, saying if you don't eat your meat, you can't have your pudding,” said Rep. Phil Lyman (R-Blanding). “It feels kind of like what this is – if you don’t do these things, then you don’t get the money.”

Lawmakers who support the bill plan to aggressively push the legislation in the final days of the legislative session.

“We are in a tough spot as a state,” Rep. Waldrip said. “If we don't do hard things, we will end up like California.”