We’re in a disaster of reasonably priced housing and the state has the cash to assist.
As the chief director of Household Promise Salt Lake, I see firsthand the influence that Utah’s reasonably priced housing disaster is having on our households. And, as our state coffers overflow with unprecedented abundance, I additionally see clearly what our state leaders can do about it.
DeeAnna and Clark had been evicted from their dwelling in October and had been out of the blue with out shelter. They’ve two ladies and one boy, ages 11, 9 and 4. They didn’t know the place to show for assist. Despite the fact that that they had acquired a Part 8 housing voucher — as soon as thought of the golden ticket for households in search of reasonably priced housing — they had been unable to seek out obtainable items as a result of our state’s housing scarcity.
That is the place good, bipartisan authorities coverage can — and did! — step in to maintain households collectively and protected. Because of the CARES Act COVID reduction package deal handed by Congress with the assist of Sens. Mitt Romney and Mike Lee in 2020, Household Promise Salt Lake was capable of join DeeAnna and Clark with a Salt Lake County Emergency Options grant, which positioned their household in a motel for a number of weeks whereas they looked for housing.
With out bipartisan authorities responses in moments of disaster, such because the CARES Act emergency grant, DeeAnna, Clark and their kids would have been on the streets. With out the federal voucher, particularly in at present’s actual property market, they might have by no means gotten out of that motel. However, with these federal sources, and dealing with FPSL case administration and employees, they lastly discovered a brand new dwelling in West Valley Metropolis.
When DeeAnna regarded on the tackle, she was in shock. The house they had been capable of safe was the very home she was raised in as a baby.
Stated DeeAnna, “I tucked my son within the different evening. His new bed room was my bed room after I was his age. With the ability to keep within the motel allowed me the time to go looking and apply for housing. In any other case, we’d have spent that point in search of a sofa to sleep on or a shelter to remain in. We received the home two days earlier than Christmas! I nonetheless can’t consider it!”
We want extra bipartisan authorities responses throughout laborious occasions, in order that extra Utah households like DeeAnna’s can’t simply discover housing however start turning them into properties. Sadly, completely satisfied conclusions like this are getting fewer and farther between. We proceed to see housing costs and rents rising much more quickly than wages, particularly for these in important however low-paying positions. It’s previous time for our legislature to sort out this housing disaster with the seriousness it calls for.
With $1 billion from the American Rescue Plan COVID reduction package deal, on prime of state revenues surpassing expectations by an extra $1.5 billion, our Legislature has the sources to fund initiatives for deeply reasonably priced housing which might be confirmed to work for Utah households and other people experiencing homelessness. The Legislature should allocate Gov. Spencer Cox’s full request of $128 million for this goal. Something much less leaves too many Utah households in danger.
The excellent news: Utahns are letting elected legislators know precisely how we really feel. Alongside our religion and civic chief colleagues at United At present, Stronger Tomorrow – Utah, Household Promise Salt Lake labored to make sure that greater than 500 private tales concerning the want for reasonably priced housing had been despatched to the Home and Senate management. Utahns are calling on them to make this funding. Maintaining households like that of DeeAnna and Clark in our hearts, we pray that they’ll pay attention.
The Rev. Brian Diggs is govt director of Household Promise Salt Lake and serves on the organizing committee of United At present, Stronger Tomorrow – Utah.