Salt Lake County Housing Trust Fund takes next step

This afternoon, the Salt Lake County Council took a critical step in moving forward its $20 million investment in affordable housing, made possible through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The Council approved eight members of the Salt Lake County Housing Trust Fund Advisory Board (HTFAB) to oversee the program.

“More affordable housing is desperately needed,” Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson said. “There are way too many hard-working households that are left behind because of skyrocketing home prices, rising rents, and declining options. This board of experts will support solutions to increase affordable housing.”

When ARPA funding was first approved by Congress, community and religious leaders asked Salt Lake County to invest heavily in affordable housing programs. Salt Lake County responded with several projects, including the $20 million for the Housing Trust Fund. 

The $20 million in affordable housing funds will be distributed in the form of grants to community housing organizations, nonprofit housing providers, municipalities, and private developers. Projects funded and units constructed with these affordable housing funds will help Salt Lake County residents at or below 80% of area median income ($73,50 for a family of four) to afford homes.

The newly appointed board members are experts in urban design, public asset management, architecture, urban planning, housing services/development, and economics, and one has personally experienced affordable or special needs housing benefits. The eight new board members appointed today are (with their areas of expertise in parentheses):

  • Jeff Davis, Architect, MSR Architecture (Architecture, Housing Development, and Urban Design)
  • Matt Dahl, Midvale City Manager (Housing Development, Housing Services)
  • Claudia O’Grady, VP, Multi-family Finance, Utah Housing Corporation (Housing Services/Development)
  • Dejan Eskic, Sr. Housing Research Economist, Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute (Housing Development & Economics)
  • Michael Maloy, AICP, Planning Director, Herriman City (Urban Planning)
  • Stephanie White, CRA Compliance Officer, Comenity Bank (Economics, Housing Development)
  • Karen Stone, Housing Connect Resident Advisory Board (Housing Services)
  • Susie Petheram, Sr. Planner, FFKR Architects (Urban Design, Urban Planning)

The advisory board will be instrumental in selecting projects to fund. While new ideas and solutions are welcome, Salt Lake County anticipates most projects will fall into one of the three buckets below:

  • Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) projects that are underway but have experienced rising costs and need funding to get over the finish line
  • The preservation and rehabilitation of naturally occurring affordable housing units and preserving those units for years to come
  • Subsidizing affordable units within planned and shovel-ready new apartment construction projects and protecting those units for years to come 

The last board member, an additional spot intended for an individual who has personally experienced affordable or special needs housing, will be finalized in the coming weeks and the advisory board is expected to release its first request for applications by mid- to late-October.