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Sen. Derek Kitchen Proposes Funding to Expand Affordable Housing for Utahns

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

During this morning’s Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee meeting, Sen. Derek Kitchen presented two funding requests to expand affordable housing for Utahns.

Sen. Kitchen’s $15 million request would be directed to the Olene Walker Housing Loan Fund (OWHLF) to support the construction of more than 1,000 new, affordable units to assist households earning 60% or less of the Area Median Income. The OWHLF develops housing that is affordable for very low-income, low-income, and moderate-income persons as defined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This is in addition to the $200 million in federal funds proposed for housing by Governor Spencer Cox.

“Addressing the affordable housing shortage here in Utah must be a top priority the Legislature. Utah families are feeling desperate for support by our state government, and we have a budget surplus that should be directed to support essential housing units and support Utah families,” said Sen. Kitchen. Data shows that rental vacancy rates dropped to record levels and rental rates increased dramatically in the Wasatch Front. Home prices continue to spike to record-breaking levels—we must use our policy tools with urgency to support the people of Utah.”

Sen. Kitchen also presented a $200,000 request to support a rural pilot program that would help 20-30 individuals who are transitioning out of residential substance-use disorder treatment and are on the path toward long term sobriety. This is targeted to residents in Carbon and Emery Counties. This region of our state has an opioid overdose death rate that is 3-times higher than the rest of Utah.

“The program is intended to help people who have already been through detox or residential treatment. When people finish their sobriety program, one of the keys to long-term success is the ability to care for oneself. This program provides housing support and promotes long-term success in rural areas for people coming out of drug treatment centers,” said Sen. Kitchen.


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