Salt Lake City leaders unveil 5-year plan for creating affordable housing

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Salt Lake City officials announced an affordable housing plan for the next five years called Growing SLC.

It's been 16 years since the city saw a major effort toward affordable housing construction.

Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski, leaders from the Department of Community and Neighborhoods, and the Housing Authority of Salt Lake came together on Thursday to announce the new action plan. The plan includes seven goals:

1. Updates to zoning codes
2. Preservation of long-term affordable housing
3. Establishing a significant funding source
4. Stabilizing low income tenants
5. Innovation in design
6. Partnerships in housing
7. Equitability and fair housing.

The year the team spent researching and building the plan revealed the city's housing crisis.

"Nearly half of renters in Salt Lake City are considered cost burdened, meaning they are spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing," Biskupski explained. "Nearly one quarter of renters in Salt Lake City are severely cost burdened, spending nearly 50 percent or more of their income on housing, and with a historically low 2 percent vacancy rate, prices continue to rise in Salt Lake City."

The mayor also said city zoning policies must change in order to obtain the affordable housing goals.

"This plan acknowledges that some city policies implemented during a time when Salt Lake City was very different than it looks today are now limiting our ability to make change, and worse promoting economic segregation in our city," Biskupski said. "These city policies limit the function, size, and type of housing we can build in certain neighborhoods... Some policies were there for character... but in some instances they fail to allow us to be innovative in how we grow."

The next step is to hear public feedback on the plan. Click here to weigh in on the issue.