The 600 Lofts apartments in downtown Salt Lake City are advertised as vacant and affordable. Rent is approximately $750, utilities included, for a one-bed unit.
Herein lies the rub, however. To qualify, your income must be twice the amount of your rent, meaning you must earn $1,500 monthly to be considered.
Fixed incomes need not apply.
Green Grove, in Pleasant Grove, offers one-bedroom, $1,000-a-month units and requires three times the rent in gross monthly income. Make less than $15 hour? Don't bother.
This is now the new rule, not the exception, of property developers and management teams in Utah.
Once the role of income-restricted apartments was used to ensure units would be available for low-income tenants. Now, income requirements have become a new way to game the system, even as affordable housing is becoming a bipartisan issue even in a pro-landlord, conservative state.
Even if a $12-an-hour worker qualified for these type of units (which is nearly all of them), they would still be spending more than 50 percent of their wages on housing alone, leaving little in the way of child care, food, transportation, health care, savings and that tiny thing called fun activities.
It’s imperative that state, county and city governments recognize that housing is a nuanced concept.
Affordability is obviously crucial, but if these units are built — especially using subsidized taxpayer dollars — and not accessible to low-income or working-class tenants, then who are we really building them for? And what was the point?
Ryan J. Parker, Salt Lake City