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Affordable Utah: Salt Lake City Wants Residents Aware of Housing Programs

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Half of all Americans think there’s a crisis going on in affordable housing, and 40 percent of government officials agree that’s according to a new survey by Wells Fargo. But, Salt Lake City is committed to helping low and moderate income families repair their homes, and even buy their first homes.

The city wants to make sure residents are aware of programs that enable low and moderate income families repair and upgrade their homes, and even buy their first homes.

“I love it. I love the neighborhood. I love everything about my home,” said Liz Schulte, who has benefited from one of those programs.

But, a year ago, expensive repairs threatened to force Schulte out of her home of 13 years.

“A leaky roof and a flooded basement… I had two things happening simultaneously and I needed some help,” she said.

Repair estimates were unaffordable. So, she Googled and discovered Salt Lake City’s Home Repair Program for qualifying low to moderate income homeowners.

“I got my home remodeled,” she said. “I get to live in it now. And I don’t have to make payments until I’m done paying off my home.”

She has a new roof, new gutters and a rebuilt front porch. Downstairs, a new bathroom, and a remodeled basement with two new finished rooms with dug out window wells.

“Now, everyone has their own room,” she said, which means a lot to her three kids.

“This program, basically saved her home ownership opportunity,” said Cathie Rigby, who manages the program for the Salt Lake City Department of Housing and Neighborhoods. “It allowed her to keep her home, which she dearly loves. And, it allowed her to stay in the city which she enjoys living and working in.”

The upgrades afforded by the program are good for Schulte, and her neighborhood.

“Nobody wants to see a home become abandoned, or run down,” said Rigby. “It’s just a waste of a valuable piece of property.”

In addition to the Home Repair Program, the city offers a Handyman Program that enables elderly, or disabled, residents to get $500 annually for home repairs. The city also offers a Homebuyer Program to help families purchase their first home.

“We have reasonable rates and terms for folks who want to buy a home in Salt Lake City,” said Rigby.

The programs are funded with federal and local money, grants and a housing trust fund.

“Salt Lake City has really put money where his mouth is and made these funds available to the community,” said Rigby.

Had Schulte not discovered the repair program, she’s not sure where she would be today.

“I probably wouldn’t be living here. I probably would have had to move, just because it was to the point where I needed to do something,” said Schulte.

“She either had to come up with a lot of money that she did not have in her budget to repair the home so that she could stay in it, or she would basically have to sell it,” said Rigby.

The program not only improved Schulte’s home, it improved the neighborhood, because her house wasn’t left to deteriorate. Residents can check the Salt Lake City Housing and Neighborhood Development website for eligibility.

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