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Utah House committee approves $20 million for affordable housing program

SALT LAKE CITY — The House Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee voted 7-4 Monday to approve a bill that would allocate $20 million to affordable housing.

HB386 would create housing vouchers, funding for single-room occupancy housing and create a new Affordable Housing Preservation Fund to maintain or rehabilitate affordable housing.

The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Joel Briscoe, D-Salt Lake City, said the vouchers are useful for immediate help while the other funding programs help increase housing availability.

Some members of the committee, including House Majority Leader Francis Gibson, R-Mapleton, and Rep. Timothy Hawkes, R-Centerville, expressed concern about the large amount of money requested and the effectiveness of affordable housing in encouraging low-income individuals and families to become self-sufficient.

Briscoe said SB34 should be the first priority among the bills allocating funding to affordable housing. The funding requested in this bill would address different issues.

The bill will now go to the House floor for debate.