January 12, 2022
Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall joined state leaders and affordable housing providers Wednesday to discuss housing affordability and the need for innovation, funding and policy changes ahead of the 2022 Utah Legislative Session.
The Housing Affordability Policy Summit was organized as an opportunity to provide lawmakers, staff, and housing providers the chance to discuss the current state of affordable housing, how it’s created, and the need for solutions. Hosted by the City in partnership with the Utah League of Cities and Towns, the Commission on Housing Affordability, and the State Office of Homeless Services, the summit was attended by more than 40 stakeholders.
“Addressing our state’s critical need for affordable housing will take work from all levels of government, and I appreciated the opportunity to hear from and discuss this important topic with a room full of policymakers,” said Mayor Mendenhall.
Legislators, State Homeless Services Coordinator Wayne Neiderhauser, Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute experts and others spoke at the summit, which also featured a tour of successful affordable housing developments in the City.
“Increasing housing affordability, especially focusing on deeply affordable housing is a key factor to ameliorating homelessness,” said Wayne Niederhauser, the State Homeless Services Coordinator. “We hope that this Summit can add momentum to the Governor’s budget recommendations and help generate statewide solutions for both housing and homelessness.”
The summit comes on the heels of the release of the Governor’s annual budget, which calls for over $200 million in affordable housing investment statewide and which will be discussed during the legislative session.
“We are at a crisis point in housing affordability, and this event aims to underscore that while articulating solutions,” said Senator Jake Anderegg, Chair of the Commission on Housing Affordability. “The Governor has put more than $200 million in his budget that would go toward affordable housing. We have an opportunity during this legislative session to make major strides toward creating a more affordable housing landscape throughout the State.”
“The Utah League of Cities and Towns looks forward to continued collaboration with state leaders and other stakeholders at the Housing Affordability Policy Summit,” said Cameron Diehl, Executive Director of the Utah League of Cities and Towns. “Local government leaders are on the frontlines of growth management, including the areas of land use and housing. The summit will provide examples of how cities are thinking outside the box and using the tools at their disposal to provide a diverse array of housing for their constituents”
Recent data from the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute estimates that Utah currently has a 44,489 unit housing shortage. Salt Lake City has a shortage of 18,328 affordable units, with most of the shortage occurring in units affordable to households earning 50% AMI or below. This has led to rental vacancy rates below 2% and the median for-sale home staying on the market for six days. In recent years, the City has helped fund over 12,000 units, over 3,000 of which are deed-restricted affordable.