This past Saturday, the United Utah Party hosted a Housing Affordability Summit.
Kent Norton, a former KSL personality, served as the moderator, and panelists at the summit included Dejan Eskic from the Kem Gardner Institute at the University of Utah, Urban Planning Professor Michael Clark from Brigham Young University, Tara Rollins of the Utah Housing Coalition, Jeff Southard of the Utah Homebuilders Association, and Zach Schofield, a research analyst with the Sutherland Institute. Their presentations focused on different public and private efforts to make housing affordable in the state of Utah.
Also in attendance were Rep. Becky Edwards (R-North Salt Lake) and Rep. Joel Briscoe (D-Salt Lake City) of the Utah House of Representatives.
“To tell the story of who we’re talking about, who are these folks [who need affordable housing], they’re our children. They’re our grandchildren. They’re our neighbors who simply want to have a place to live,” Rep. Edwards said in her presentation. “And if we want the type of economic expansion in our state that we know we’re in position for, we know that we’re going to need to do this, but we’re going to need to do this in a responsible way.”
Rep. Briscoe agreed, and he discussed proposed legislation he and Rep. Edwards were sponsoring for a $100 million bond to create more affordable housing opportunities. He quoted House Speaker Greg Hughes’s comments about how affordable housing was a huge challenge coming to Utah.
“My only quibble with [Speaker] Hughes is that this not something that’s coming,” Rep. Briscoe said. “It’s here now.”
“It was really encouraging to see so many people spend a lovely Saturday afternoon coming to a discussion like this,” said Richard Davis, United Utah Party Chair. “It shows that this is an issue that is important to Utah voters and to our candidates.” The United Utah Party has fifteen candidates running for the State Legislature, many of whom were in attendance at Saturday’s summit.
More information is available at unitedutah.org.