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'We need your help!' - Housing crisis hits Moab Police Department

Posted at 12:44 PM, Apr 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-21 19:43:22-04

MOAB, Utah — The Chief of Moab Police is asking for help finding housing for some of the department’s new hires.

Downtown Moab is considered a resort town with the roughly three million visitors that come between mid-February through Thanksgiving.

With more people, comes an increased risk of crime, said Police Chief Bret Edge.

READ: Utah has nation's worst housing shortage; new programs offered to help

“We were allocated for 15 officers, and we have been approved to increase that to 17,” said Edge.

To reach maximum effectiveness, Edge said they need 25 to 30 officers.

“We see domestic violence, assaults, property crimes,” said Edge.

Yet, crime isn’t the main issue they’re facing—it’s housing.

Whether renting or buying, housing inventory in Moab is limited and expensive, said Edge.

A problem, Ben Riley, the executive director at the Housing Authority of Southeastern Utah, has been trying to solve.

READ: 3D-printed homes could be a solution to the housing crisis

“We do a sweat equity program where people build their own home,” said Riley.

HASU is also providing one to two hundred affordable housing units within the next few years.

"We’re really trying to shift," said Riley.

They hope to bring more of those essential workers, the forty to sixty thousand-a-year families.

READ: Housing assistance experts propose better long-term solutions

The reason Riley’s pushing for housing is because Moab tends to attract developers who are not interested in building homes.

“They are building condos and hotels which is taking away from the single-family housing that we really need,” said Riley.

If you or someone you know has a home or apartment for rent, or resources for the Moab City Police Department can use, reach out to their office at 435-259-8938 and ask to speak with Kelli Day.