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Utah has nation's worst housing shortage, new programs announced to help

Posted at 5:46 PM, Mar 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-03 19:46:19-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah legislative and business leaders announced a joint effort to tackle Utah's housing shortage which is among the worst in the nation.

The effort would create a statewide authority to guide development of affordable housing to reassure communities projects will fit into communities rather than detracting from property values. It also funds a new director of homeless issues at the state level to advise the governor and coordinate a homeless advisory council.

A new study from released on Wednesday ranked Utah last in the country for the number of homes available for purchase or rental. Utah's rental rate was .2% in the last quarter of 2020 according to the study.

Speaker of the House Brad Wilson, a home builder himself, says the problem is serious.

"You've got not only the fastest growing state in the country we've had some of the most aggressive and dramatic increases in housing costs in the country in the last decade," Wilson said.

Read: Utah Native American tribes receive $4.2 million for affordable housing

Also on hand, Gail Miller of the Larry H. Miller group of companies speaking in support of the homeless efforts, calling it, "One of the biggest issues facing Utah."

State lawmakers are committing $50 million to the effort, with $15 million earmarked to address homelessness and $35 million to preserve and build housing.

Wilson said the state's contribution is meant to reassure potential donors and other investors.

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"We insure that they are high quality projects and they are managed well and they provide not only a nice place for people to live but they fit in well with the communities around them," Wilson said.

Clark Ivory, CEO of Ivory Homes says he and other philanthropists are on board.

"You give us $50 million we can do $750 million worth of investments, Ivory said.