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New Pilot Program Seeks to Make Renovation a Tool in Addressing Affordable Housing Crisis

Salt Lake City–Today, Salt Lake City announced a pilot renovation program aimed at preserving existing affordable housing stock throughout the City. Salt Lake City’s Housing and Neighborhood Development Division (HAND) kicked-off the program with a $1 million Notice of Funding Availability to attract owners of multi-family housing to apply.

The pilot program is the result of the City’s recently adopted affordable housing plan, GrowingSLC, and will use funds made available as part of the $21 million set aside by the City late last year for use in addressing affordable housing.

“Preserving existing housing stock is a cost-effective and efficient way of ensuring long-term affordability in the market,” said Melisa Jensen, Director of Salt Lake City’s Housing and Neighborhood Development Division. “In many cases, the City loses affordable housing opportunities when units are renovated and then placed into the open market.”

As part of the program, the City intends to make low-interest renovation loans to building owners who then agree to keep rents at 60% AMI or below, or approximately $800 per month for a one-bedroom apartment. The City estimates each renovated unit will cost no more than $50,000. Over the past two-years, development costs for new housing in Salt Lake City has been about $170,000 per unit, according to HAND.

“There is no one solution to addressing the affordable housing crisis Salt Lake City is facing,” added Melissa Jensen. “The fundamental goal of GrowingSLC is to explore a wide variety of opportunities to increase vibrancy in the housing market and to provide security for vulnerable residents.”

A 2016 report showed that Salt Lake City need 7,500 affordable housing units. Since that time, Salt Lake City has invested $6.2 million from the City’s Housing Trust Fund to create approximately 800 affordable units. Further investments called for in the City’s housing plan are anticipated to bring an additional 1,000 units online in the next two years. Last week, the Salt Lake City Council approved Mayor Jackie Biskupski’s recommended FY19 budget, which included just over $4 million to implement the GrowingSLC housing plan.

“With a plan to address the crisis we are facing, my Administration is prepared to act in a meaningful and strategic way to bring relief to those struggling to live in Salt Lake City,” said Mayor Jackie Biskupski on the pilot program. “Housing instability creates tension within families, disrupts the education of our kids, and even contributes to our air quality problems as people move further from their jobs in search of more affordable living. Investing in affordable housing is one of the most impactful things we can do as a City.”

Applications for the $1 million Notice of Funding Availability are due June 29th. Information can be found here: www.slc.gov/hand/funding-programs