Sunday, March 14, 2021

Major Cities Face Gentrification in Rush for Affordable Housing

In many cities, the easiest place for developers to put up affordable housing are areas with existing public utilities and services. This usually means tearing down the only housing many low-income residents can afford.

One such city is Salt Lake City where residents and newcomers alike are witnessing gentrification right before their eyes.

Instances abound these days of older, more affordable and often brick homes or duplexes that define many neighborhoods being demolished for apartment projects, with new dwellings rented at often-pricey market rates.

Major pockets of residential and commercial land across Utah’s capital are seeing face-lifts or the wrecking ball and new construction as land values rise and housing demand skyrockets. Many longtime property owners are selling to developers or building themselves.

City officials say there’s a wave of residents being displaced by this trend, needing aid from social service agencies in the form of rent, deposits and relocation assistance in the aftermath of new market-rate apartment construction.

Blake Thomas, head of the city’s Department of Community and Neighborhoods. said the pattern “is incredibly prevalent.”

“It is really concerning to our team,” Thomas recently told the City Council.

The council is now vetting a new zoning strategy meant to bring more smaller types of housing like tiny homes and cottages into some established neighborhoods. It’s part of a ramped-up campaign across city departments to boost affordable housing on multiple fronts.

But with homelessness a rising worry and the city’s housing markets now at a historic crux of demand and razor-thin supplies due in part to the coronavirus pandemic, the picture is evolving so fast city leaders aren’t always sure what to do next.

Critics warn some of the moves they’re considering may only add to the gentrification pipeline.

CLICK HERE to read the entire Salt Lake Tribune article

Gary Fleisher, the Modcoach, writes Modcoach News, Modular Home Coach blogs. Modcoach Connects matches Consultants with Clients. Click Here to sign up for the twice-weekly email newsletter.

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