The Utah Senate gave final passage Tuesday to a bill that would move the state's housing division out of the Department of Community and Culture and into the Department of Workforce Services Â which some low-income groups have said may be a marriage of convenience doomed to fail.
With little debate as legislators speed toward Thursday's end of their yearly session, the Senate voted 17-11 for HB139 by Rep. Wayne Harper, R-West Jordan, and sent it to Gov. Gary Herbert for his signature.
Harper said previously that the state studied for a year and a half how to improve efficiency and cost savings in the Department of Community and Culture. Moving the housing division was a top recommendation.
He said it would save $1.3 million with about a third of the savings coming by eliminating a separate lease for the housing division by moving it into space that DWS has available.
Groups that advocate for the poor, among others, have said housing may become an "unwanted orphan" in DWS because its functions are different, and is being placed in DWS only because it had space available in its building. They worry that its services would suffer over time.