Utah Senator Pushes for Affordable Housing Assistance With SB34

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Utah Senator Jake Anderegg

Experts have officially stated that Utah is facing a sizable affordable housing gap. This comes as no shock to many that are in the market and struggling for home-ownership.

In response, Utah Senator Jake Anderegg in sponsoring a bill, SB34, that is aimed at structuring a new incentive for cities to zone for affordable housing. This incentive urges city officials to choose two strategies out of a list of 25 that will welcome moderate-income housing.

If the two strategies are not chosen, it voids said officials and their communities of being eligible for a considerable amount (around 700 million) in annual state transportation investment funds.

These monies will be allocated primarily from the motor fuel tax that the state controls. Sen. Anderegg witnessed the bill pass through its first legislative test recently. When the Senate Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee viewed SB34, it was met with unanimous approval.

A work product of the Utah Commission on Housing Affordability, SB34 grew from legislation that passed in 2018 that found a group of 20 housing experts, city representatives, state leaders and the like coming together to face the state’s issues with housing.

Sen. Anderegg’s bill would interact with the state’s Olene Walker Housing Loan Fund, calling for $4 million in ongoing monies for the fund. Governor Gary Herbert had previously, in his budget, proposed that money in the millions be put into the Olene Walker fund. This money was called for not only one-time, but annually.

The Olene Walker fund is a state fund that is used for low-interest lending geared toward affordable housing construction. SB34 would also call for $20 million in one-time funding.

As it stands, the bill will now be presented to the full Senate for consideration. For more information on the bill and to follow its progression, please click here. 

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