Salt Lake City mayor boosts affordable housing with two new initiatives

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The mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah, recently announced two new initiatives to bolster affordable housing in the city, according to an article in The Salt Lake Tribune. Mayor Jackie Biskupski said that the city will be introducing fee waivers for projects including at least 20 percent affordable housing and that the city is developing new rules that would require affordable housing be replaced when it is redeveloped or demolished.

According to a 2018 study cited by the Tribune, housing costs in Utah are rising much faster than wages, and one-eighth of the state’s households are spending 50 percent or more of their income on housing.

Biskupski, who was elected in 2015, has focused on housing access and renewable energy throughout her tenure. In 2016 she called homelessness a “humanitarian crisis” while announcing four new shelters in the city, and along with other mayors across the country she has committed to pursuing the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement from which the national government withdrew last year.

While cities like New York and San Francisco very visibly struggle with affordable housing and dramatic income inequality, smaller cities and towns across the country are facing their own forms of housing crises, albeit on smaller scales. A 2017 study by the Urban Institute found that every county in the country lacked enough housing for extremely-low income households.

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