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Affordable housing brings new hope to Midvale families

SHARE Affordable housing brings new hope to Midvale families

Courtesy of Utah League of Cities and Towns


This story is sponsored by Utah League of Cities and Towns. Learn more about Utah League of Cities and Towns.

Housing prices are climbing. Rental rates can be as high as a mortgage payment in urban Utah. And for some seeking housing, it came as a welcome relief to find new opportunities in one Salt Lake Valley city.

Precious Smith was homeless off-and-on for almost 2 years. During the periods she was without work, she would find shelter by sleeping in her car. She believed the only way to get an apartment of her own was to get a friend as co-signer on a rental agreement. Smith said, "If you didn't have a certain amount of income and that was the only way you could get in."

Barbra Moeller also lived in her car along with her three children for 18 months. Moeller explained, "When we got to the tipping point where I couldn't hold the house and us and the decision was easy, we hold onto us."


Teresa Hollie was merely looking for a clean safe environment where she could raise her three children. She said it was "very hard finding a three bedroom with the space that I needed- things that I could afford. I didn't want to move in. I looked at the grounds, I went looking all over the place and for the price. [It was] totally not worth it."


They had no sanctuary. Yet, trying to find a place to live with a limited income often left them feeling degraded and humiliated. Fortunately, each of these women saw a ray of hope shining from the city of Midvale. For Barbra, it was in an organization now called "Family Promise."

Moeller explained, "It started as a shelter where there's co-housing and you get off the street and you get to where it's safe. You work into rental properties and once you've demonstrated that you can manage your budget, save money, pay bills on time, you have a chance at working into a rent-to-own condo which is where the kids and I now live."

In fact, Midvale has adopted several programs to help families make it through tough times.


One apartment complex, Florentine Villas, offers a beautiful, clean lifestyle to people with a low income to professionals whose jobs may not provide enough money to afford their own home. This includes people below 80 percent of the median income. Rent is based on what the tenant can afford.

Hollie said she was thrilled to find such a place. "You know, I knew immediately when I saw it online, this is what I wanted. Not only was it affordable, it was beautiful."

Midvale Mayor JoAnn Seghini is pleased that opportunities for comfortable housing exist for all people in her community. "People of all kinds and all stripes need places. Those places need to build self-confidence, integrity. They need to be safe. They need to be a community."

Smith described the joy she found when she was able to move in. "I got in on my own signature and I feel beautiful again. Not only inside, but in my home."

And for Barbara and her children, a chance to actually buy a condominium through the Family Promise program meant new opportunity. "You don't realize all that a home gives you until you don't have one," she explained. She, and many others know how imperative access to good housing means to individuals and to families. They feel lucky to have found such access in Midvale.

Read more from the Utah League of Cities and Towns on DeseretNews.com or visit their website at ulct.org.