How to find affordable housing in Salt Lake City.

FAQs & Answers: How to Find Affordable Housing in Salt Lake City

October 14, 2019 10:08 pm Published by 2 Comments
Last Modified: October 29, 2019 2:50 pm
Reading Time: 7 minutes

Utah is a beautiful state with plenty of nature to explore, incredible views, and a booming economy. If you live in the state but need help, it’s important to know how to find affordable housing in Salt Lake City. This housing can help you enjoy living comfortably in this booming region.

Here are some frequently asked questions and answers so you can navigate the process and find a home for yourself and your family. Read on to get the answers you need about affordable housing in the Salt Lake City area.

Why is it So Difficult to Find Affordable Housing in Salt Lake City? 

You may wonder why affordable housing is so scarce in the Salt Lake City region. This booming part of Utah is becoming a tech-savvy area with a growing range of industries. That important economic factor means new industries are bringing higher-paying jobs to the area.

As new people move to Salt Lake City and new companies arrive, the costs of housing start to increase. When high-tech companies pay workers more money, the cost to rent or own a home rises in tandem.

When the price of rent increases and vacancies decrease, it’s much more difficult for the average resident to find an affordable place to live. People can be easily priced out of the market, and it’s more difficult to find places that charge a reasonable rate of rent.

Housing is in extremely high demand throughout the Salt Lake City area. Even though new homes are being built in decent numbers, the cost to rent or own a home is also rising along with it.

The lack of available housing is combined with an influx of workers who are receiving a higher salary. That means you’ll find less availability of affordable homes.

When residents are priced out of the market, it’s much more difficult to get affordable housing in Salt Lake City. Homes and apartments become scarcer as the area grows.

Who Can Help Me Find Affordable Housing?

The state of Utah works with the Housing Authority of Salt Lake City to assist residents with finding and moving into affordable housing. This organization is federally funded and is a Special Purpose Government Agency.

The HASLC was founded in October of 1970. Their mission is to provide rent subsidies and affordable housing to low-income people throughout the Salt Lake City area. Currently, the organization owns and manages approximately 1,600 units of subsidized housing.

HASLC also owns an extra 545 units financed via various tax credits. They issue Section 8 vouchers to citizens and serve approximately 2,800 households throughout Salt Lake City.

In order to be eligible for Section 8 housing, residents must be placed on a waiting list to receive a housing voucher. Once approved, they must live in a specific apartment complex, community, or scattered site.

After a year of occupancy, tenants may then request to be added to another waiting list. This list will offer the opportunity to be added to the next available Housing Choice Voucher. The Housing Choice Voucher allows eligible residents more choices in regard to where they prefer to live.

How Long Will I Be on the Waiting List?

Once you submit your application to the HASLC, your name is added to the waiting list for the specific program you’ve requested. When your name reaches the top of the list or if HASLC is updating their files, you will be notified by mail.

You must respond to all notifications and the mail you receive must be deliverable to your current address as listed on the application. If you don’t respond, your name will be removed from the waiting list, so it’s important to respond as soon as possible.

Be sure to notify the HASLC of any changes in information including your phone number, income changes, and any changes to your family size. This information must be submitted within 10 business days of the change, and it must be made in writing. Make sure you include your social security number on your correspondence.

What Are the Eligibility Requirements for Affordable Housing in Salt Lake City?

There are several requirements you must meet in order to be considered eligible for the affordable housing waiting list. First, you must qualify as an individual or family as defined by HASLC.

The head of the household must be 18 years of age or older, or they may be an emancipated minor who is deemed as such by a court of law within the state of Utah. All families who apply must have a specific annual income that does not exceed the maximum allowable income by family size. Current income guidelines are set forth by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. You can check the current income limits on their website for additional information

When you apply, you and all members of your family must pass a criminal background check. If you or anyone in your family has ever been convicted of manufacturing or producing methamphetamine on any federally-assisted housing property, you will not be eligible. You are also ineligible if you or a family member has ever been subject to a lifetime registration requirement under the state sex offender registration program. 

Everyone who applies must also provide documentation of their social security numbers. If someone does not have a social security number, they must certify this during the eligibility interview. All applicants must meet the current USHUD requirements regarding immigration and citizenship status. If anyone currently owes rent or any other form of payment to HASLC or any other housing authority, they will not be eligible until the overdue balance is paid in full. You may also request to enroll in a repayment agreement, but you won’t be eligible until the payments are made current.

What Other Types of Programs are Available?

In addition to Section 8 vouchers, the HASLC manages a variety of other programs with a focus on providing affordable housing options to residents. There are programs for veterans, homeless, disabled, and the elderly.

Some programs include the Housing Choice Voucher, Project-Based Vouchers, and the Mod Rehab Voucher. The housing authority also manages apartments for people whose income is below 80% of the affordable minimum income guidelines dependent on household size.

Every situation is unique, so it’s recommended that you go to the office or visit online to find out what type of housing you’re eligible for. The city also offers Affordable and Tax Credit Housing in addition to Homeless Housing programs that offer affordable units at approximately 30% of income for rent.

Check back often to find out when Housing Choice Voucher waiting lists are open so you can get on the list. There are also homeless housing programs available for those who are in dire need of shelter.

Those who are disabled or elderly should contact the Housing Authority of Salt Lake City to find out how to get help and reasonable accommodation when looking for housing. 

What is the FSS Program?

A program called the Family Self-Sufficiency program provides support to people in the Salt Lake City area who are receiving housing assistance. This program is geared toward helping people achieve self-reliance and freedom from receiving government assistance.

When you apply for the FSS program, it’s a five-year-long commitment. The program brings support services and your individual goals together and helps you create an escrow savings account. This account can help you start saving toward your freedom, independence, and your future.

The escrow account will be set up in your name, but it will be held by the Housing Authority of Salt Lake City for five years. When you enroll in the program, HASLC will record your income and rent amount. These amounts will be used to start the savings account.

If you have months where your earned income and rent are higher than the starting amount, you’ll receive a deposit into the escrow account. The amount of the deposit will depend on how much your income and rent has increased since you started the program.

You won’t be able to access your escrow savings account, but you can get the money from it once you complete the FSS program. Upon completion of the five-year program, you’ll be able to use the money to pay bills, buy a car, or even use it for a downpayment on a home.

How Can I Enroll in the FSS Program?

You must verify and confirm your income and rent amounts with an FSS caseworker. They will get you set up and help you start your FSS escrow account.

Upon completion, your caseworker will verify your goals and confirm that you’ve reached the minimum requirements. You must maintain full-time employment throughout the duration of the program in order to receive your money. You also may not receive any form of cash assistance for the last 12 months of the program period. In addition, you must currently be in good standing with the Housing Authority of Salt Lake City in order to complete the FSS program and be paid.

This program is a great way for single parents, young families, and working-class people to get a head start toward a better life. It also teaches good money management skills and habits that will help you achieve your goals faster.

What Else do I Need to Know About Affordable Housing?

Finding a safe place to live for yourself and your family can feel like a daunting task. With help from the housing authority and others, you can find a place that will suit your needs.

Remember to be patient and pay close attention to the current waiting list schedule. Keep your information up to date and always respond to any notifications you receive as soon as possible.

Reach out to a caseworker who can keep you informed of your status and give you some guidance along the way. There are many wonderful neighborhoods throughout the Salt Lake City area that provide people with safe, clean housing at a reasonable cost.

Even as the economy grows, it can be difficult for people to find homes and apartments that are at an affordable rate. That’s why organizations like the HASLC are there; to help those in need of homes find a suitable place to live.

Organizations like Housing Connect can help you get the assistance you need and provide you with additional guidance. There are other organizations and programs throughout the state of Utah, too.

Whether you’re working toward getting a new job or you just have trouble making ends meet, there are programs available to help you get back on your feet. Don’t let the lack of affordable rent deter you from living in the Salt Lake City Area. Talk to a counselor or caseworker who can help you complete your application and determine your eligibility.

Housing You Can Afford.

From high-rise apartment complexes to private rentals, it’s possible to find affordable housing in Salt Lake City. Stay vigilant and use all the resources available to you. This will help you get a good chance of finding a safe, affordable place to live.

Be sure to follow all guidelines and respond to notices as soon as you can so that you stay on the waiting lists. Use the FSS Program to help you build a savings account that will give you a fresh start.

If you offer affordable properties or need help with your property marketing, be sure to visit our website and learn more about us today. 

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This post was written by Isabella Housel


2 Comments

  • I thought it was interesting that there is a high demand for homes in SLC. One of my friends is thinking of moving to Salt Lake City to be closer to his job. Thanks for the great insight into finding homes in Salt Lake City.

    • Isabella Housel says:

      Salt Lake City is the place to be! Tons of job opportunities and beautiful views! Thanks for reading our blog!

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