Action Needed: Decisions being made on funding for affordable housing!

Part of the legislative process is making funding decisions. This week, legislators on appropriations subcommittees will make recommendations to the Executive Appropriations Committee about which bills and projects to prioritize for funding. Affordable housing MUST be prioritized in 2020 to begin to combat the growing housing crisis!

Utah cannot afford to wait two years for funding the critical needs for our state!

SB 39 Affordable Housing Amendments by Sen. Jake Anderegg (R-Lehi) authorizes $15 million in ongoing rental assistance for Utah families on the brink of homelessness and provides $20 in one time funding for the Olene Walker Housing Loan Fund to develop more affordable housing. BOTH forms of funding are critically needed to staunch the growing housing gap and turn our state in a better direction!

YOU CAN HELP!

Email the Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee using our easy email tool BEFORE THURSDAY MORNING to ask them to prioritize full funding of SB 39!

Write your brief email to the members of the Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee in the box below.

The problem

Utah has a 54,000-unit affordable housing shortage, with rental and home prices continuing to rise and and too little affordable housing development to offset the gap. Legislators failed to approve funding in 2019, stating that they would wait to fund this important measure in 2020 after passing tax reform. Due to the unravelling of tax reform, legislative leadership has warned that funding for major projects is up in the air yet again in 2020, and that tax reform won’t be addressed until 2021.

What would SB 39 Affordable Housing Amendments do?

SB 39 seeks to appropriate an additional $20 million for the Olene Walker Housing Loan Fund to create more affordable housing units and $15 million ongoing to the Department of Workforce Services for rental assistance for families on the brink of homelessness. This bill was developed through the Commission on Housing Affordability at DWS and was recommended by the Economic Development and Workforce Services Interim Committee. BOTH forms of funding are critically needed to reverse the growing housing gap!

(Remember to personalize your comments for the greatest impact! Why do YOU support this proposal?)

  • Experts estimate that statewide there is a 49,000 to 54,000-unit shortage of housing that does not “cost-burden” residents who make significantly less than an area’s median income (AMI). State officials are estimating a shortage of 25,000 such units in Salt Lake County alone. The housing shortage has been called a “crisis”, and is only worsening.
  • This bill appropriates long-overdue funds for an issue that has been too long deprioritized and underfunded, providing needed assistance to build approximately 2,300 new affordable housing units and rental assistance for around 1,000 Utah families on the brink of homelessness.
  • Without the ongoing $15 million to the Department of Workforce Services, it will be more difficult to secure financial assistance or low-interest loans needed to create moderate-income housing. This often equates to the difference between a project breaking ground or not.
  • Without the State’s investment, Utahns will be impacted by worsening homelessness problems and other economic issues (including unstable housing for children), which have been shown to have lifelong impact.
  • Authorizing the Housing and Community Development Division to partner with one or more housing authorities or other entities will better enable the provision of rental assistance for at-risk families.
  • Waiting until after tax reform is completed to fund housing — once again — is not an ethical or wise option in the midst of a housing crisis that grows year by year. Affordable housing takes time to develop. The time to invest in housing is NOW.

How to make sure your letter is successful:

  1. Use a clear and specific subject heading.
  2. Start with a salutation (“Dear …”).
  3. Be CIVIL, PERSONAL and as CONCISE as possible.
  4. Mention that you are a CONSTITUENT and include your full address with zip code.
  5. Sign your name at the end.

Write Your Letter Here

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