A Look at Utah’s Affordable Housing Needs

The Department of Workforce Services published a new statewide Affordable Housing Assessment and Plan that provides information on the affordable rental housing needs of low-income Utahns.

"This is our first statewide assessment and plan on affordable housing,” said Department of Workforce Services Executive Director Jon Pierpont. “It provides valuable data and analysis on the housing needs and gaps in Utah, especially the scarcity of rental housing that is affordable for our lowest income families.”

Of the 264,000 rental households in Utah, two-thirds are considered low income (earning less than 80 percent of the average median income). Extremely low-income households (30 percent or less than the average median income) is the fastest growing segment, totalling 21 percent of renters in Utah. The report shows that there is a shortage of almost 39,000 units of affordable housing for extremely low-income households.

The report reveals that Utah has more than 56,000 cost burdened renter households, meaning that they are spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing.

The plan includes recommendations to increase housing for extremely low-income households, including additional state tax credits for new affordable housing developments and creating a better understanding of how to utilize funding and resources that already exist.

“Moving forward, we hope this assessment becomes a resource for lawmakers, counties and cities to make affordable housing a part of their planning efforts to support the health of their communities,” said Jonathan Hardy, Director of the Housing and Community Development Division of Workforce Services.