Leaders unite to address housing affordability gap

The Salt Lake Chamber has teamed with Utah business leaders to address the state’s growing housing affordability problem. The group met last week to launch the Housing Gap Coalition, a business-led group that is the first of its kind in the nation, according to the group.

“As a business community, we’ve had great ,success when we’ve worked together to address other issues like transportation and education,” said Derek Miller, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber and Downtown Alliance. “In a similar fashion, we’ve organized the Housing Gap Coalition to proactively address housing affordability before it becomes a crisis.”

The Housing Gap Coalition is in direct response to a study, commissioned by the Salt Lake Chamber and conducted by the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, which shows the rate that housing prices are increasing in Utah will threaten the cost of living, economic prosperity and quality of life. Unchecked, average Utahns will be priced out of the housing market in 26 years, the coalition said. Already, Utah housing is more expensive than some of the state’s top competitor cities in economic development.

“Part of our growth and prosperity in this state is due to the fact that so many Utahns want to stay here, close to their families and in the communities they love,” said Steve Starks, president of the Utah Jazz and Larry H. Miller Sports & Entertainment, and chair of the Housing Gap Coalition. “The way things are going, that simply won’t be possible for many. They’ll be priced out. Housing affordability is the greatest unaddressed threat to our economic prosperity in Utah.”

The business community is determined to address the issue before it becomes a crisis, Starks said. The Housing Gap Coalition is looking at opportunities to get in front of this issue.

The Gardner Institute study shows that actionable steps can be taken, like adopting zoning that allows for a variety of housing types and prices to meet the needs of Utahns at all stages of life, improving cost-prohibitive impact and permit fees and supporting multi-use land development.

This article provided by NewsEdge.