- Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski has proposed two measures to preserve existing affordable housing and help with the goal of creating at least 2,000 new units by the end of 2019, according to The Salt Lake Tribune and others. The proposals are in line with the goals laid out in the "Growing SLC" five-year housing plan, which the city council passed last December.
- One measure would expand the use of fee waivers for developers who dedicate at least 20% of a development's units for low-income residents. The other measure would require that affordable housing units be replaced if they are demolished for redevelopment.
- The city council would have to approve the mayor's proposals for them to take effect.
Salt Lake City's actions prove that the spreading housing crisis is not just a big city problem. Like a number of other small- to mid-sized cities, it has experienced rapid population growth — about 4% since 2010 — which often leads to cost-of-living and housing price increases. Taking action early could prevent the issue from spiraling out of control as it has in some West Coast cities.
The Growing SLC plan largely focuses on affordable housing and when it passed, council members called on neighboring municipalities to follow suit with their own housing plans. Leaders recognize that big issues like the cost of living and housing supply rarely remain localized and easily spread to other areas if not addressed.
In addition to the other actions, earlier this year the city council passed a sales tax hike that partially funds affordable housing assistance programs. The increase goes into effect in October and is expected to raise $4.1 million for affordable housing.
City leaders are coming at the housing problem from a number of different angles and using different tactics to address the different contributing factors. That's smart because there is not a silver bullet solution to these types of complex problems and merely focusing on one factor could prevent the desired progress.