Wasatch Tenants United, as well as fourteen other local organizations demand Salt Lake City to implement inclusionary zoning and investment solely in affordable housing.
05/09/2021 - Salt Lake City is in the midst of a severe housing crisis. Anybody who rents knows this fact well. This crisis intersects with nearly all other issues in the valley. From addiction, to Covid-19, to police brutality, to gentrification and displacement, rising rent worsens the problem. Housing insecurity and the political and financial needs of real estate developers are increasingly depriving working class, poor, and oppressed communities of basic rights and dignity.
The city wants us to think these processes are a passive and natural occurrence, and that they are powerless to stop them. The implication is that poor and working class people simply need to learn to adapt, to spend less, or earn more, or move. However, contrary to what they want us to think, the city government, through the RDA, the Planning Commission, and Mendenhall’s Office are directly driving this housing crisis for the benefit of developers.
The city's Redevelopment Agency regularly gives developers millions of dollars to build luxury high rise apartments where affordable housing, and homeless shelters once were. The city government funnels millions in overtime pay for police to make areas of the city more appealing to investors through camp abatements. The city is currently considering allowing developers to build apartments with no private bathrooms or kitchens on the west side as a money saving measure for developers dressed up as an affordable housing solution.
The city government has a number of realistic options to address this crisis that are intentionally avoided in most discussions about this issue. The city has the ability to stop the tax-funded Redevelopment Agencies from subsidizing the construction of any housing that isn’t affordable to working class people in the valley. The City has the ability to order their police to not assist in homeless camp abatements. The City has the ability to redirect property taxes towards the development of truly affordable housing. The city can implement inclusionary zoning requiring a percentage of all new housing built to fulfill certain needs, such as affordability, this already exists in some parts of the state.
We are demanding that the city do the right thing, and that they immediately move to implement inclusionary zoning. We are demanding that all new apartments built provide at least 20% of their units at an affordable rate. With affordability specifically defined for the city's purposes as $616 after utilities, based on 40% AMI, which is also what the state defines as a living wage in their latest affordable housing report.
We are also demanding the city prohibit the RDA from investing taxpayer dollars in housing projects that don't set aside 50 percent of their units to be affordable at 40% AMI.
These measures are basic first steps toward putting the breaks on the harm being done to our communities. Support or non-support for this measure should be seen as a litmus test for all public officials. We do not want empty words or jargon, we want action, and this is a basic starting point. Any government official who is not ready to work to implement these measures has no place representing the people of this city.
Signed, Wasatch Tenants United
Co Signed -
Rose Park Brown Berets
SLC-Area Covid Mutual Aid
Open Air Shelter
Just Media Utah
Students United for Reproductive Freedom at UVU
Utah Valley Mutual Aid
Pink Pistols SLC
Red Hive Collective
U of U Young Democratic Socialists of America
PSL - Salt Lake
Save The Utah Pantages
Utah Poor People’s Campaign
Take action by attending the upcoming event held by Wasatch Tenants United this Saturday at 2 pm @ the State Capitol Building