Housing is an incredibly important factor in creating stability in a person’s life. Unfortunately, for many, it is especially difficult to obtain housing and the stability that accompanies it.

“Historic redlining, mortgage, and other practices have built the inequitable cities we live in,” said Katie McDermott of Daybreak Communities. “In the first half of the 20th century, over a thousand cities implemented zoning ordinances, often for the purpose of adopting exclusionary zoning, which remains a widely used form of discrimination today.” 

In order for all Utahns to live and work here, there must be safe, affordable, and nondiscriminatory housing available. According to a study by the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, 35% of Utahns will be people of color by 2065. As Utah continues to diversify, it is our responsibility to apply an equity lens as we work towards solving the housing gap. 

To address this, we must start to fix outdated zoning regulations. They, more than any other local policies, impact the annual supply of single-family and multi-family housing and provide a powerful policy tool to increase the housing supply, as well as allow families of all types and backgrounds to live and work in Utah.

“It will take all of us to tackle this issue,” said McDermott. “It will take planning committees and city councils recognizing the unconscious forms of bias present in public hearings, home builders and developers finding innovative ways to build affordable and diverse housing types, and policy makers reforming laws that have led to marginalized groups not having equitable access to safe and stable housing.”

By each of us doing our part, we can come together as a state to close the housing gap and make it possible for all Utahns to have a home and to feel at home. We’re all in this together.

As businesses, you can play a role. We will be sharing videos from trusted community partners that we encourage you to share widely — along with articles and blog posts with vital information on the housing crisis each Utahn now faces. Together, we will work to close the gap and ensure that we — and our children and grandchildren — can continue to access safe and affordable housing in our great state.

*If you would like to share your story of how the housing crisis is affecting your business, please reach out to Ginger Chinn, Vice President of Public Policy at gchinn@slchamber.com.