With six working days left in the legislative session, affordable-housing advocates Wednesday joined lawmakers in a Capitol Hill briefing to promote three housing-related bills, the weightiest of which would see the state borrow as much as $100 million to finance affordable-housing construction.
The actual amount borrowed under HB464 would be determined by legislative leadership, said sponsor Rep. Joel Briscoe, D-Salt Lake City. But $100 million for housing, financed through the regular state bonding process, could finance as many as 13,000 apartments and generate $260 million in income from salaries and purchases and $50 million in tax revenue, he said.
“We have bonded for housing before,” Briscoe told an audience of about 100. “We borrowed $1 billion last year for some road projects. … We can find $100 million to jump-start some low-income and some affordable housing.”
Briscoe and others repeatedly cited a statistic from the National Low Income Housing Coalition that says Utah has a shortage of more than 40,000 affordable homes. His bill is awaiting a hearing before the House Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee.
The other bills cited Wednesday:
• HB259, sponsored by Rep. Logan Wilde, R-Croydon, which would require counties and cities to create plans for moderate-income housing. It’s pending on the House floor.
• HB430, sponsored by Rep. Rebecca Edwards, R-North Salt Lake, would create a five-year state commission to study housing affordability needs and options in the state. It has passed the House and awaits action in the Senate.