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Utah senator plans to transform state’s affordable housing

SB34 could bring more than $20 million dollars to Utah's affordable housing

 As housing affordability continues to trouble America’s housing industry and homebuyers, some lawmakers are taking a stand.

Utah Senator Jake Anderegg, R-Lehi, has proposed a “major financial boost” in the form of a bill that could transform how the state navigates affordable residential construction, according to an article written by Tony Semerad for the Salt Lake Tribune.

According to the article, Utah’s Olene Walker Housing Loan Fund, which is the state’s top source of low-interest lending to affordable residential construction, could receive a boost in funding from the newly proposed SB34.

The bill, which was introduced ahead of the beginning of the state's legislative session, could bring $20 million into the fund, potentially followed by another $4 million each year thereafter. Furthermore, SB34 could promote housing affordability by permitting mother-in-law apartments and encouraging construction of high-density housing near transit lines, according to the article.

The bill also seeks to tie moderate-income housing developments more closely with transportation corridors, while providing new penalties for municipalities that make no plan for future housing. But one thing SB34 wouldn’t do is mandate construction of new affordable housing units.

According to Semerad, SB34 would require housing plans submitted by cities to include analysis that illustrate how municipalities would realistically create opportunities for the development of moderate income housing within the next five years.

“I don’t think the government can solve this problem,” Anderegg said in an interview. “But I do think government could be a huge catalyst in helping solve the problem, in partnership with good developers and lending institutions.”

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