The Deseret News coverage of the affordable housing crisis in Utah has examined the issue from almost every angle, but we need more attention on an important piece of the puzzle: the inability of our public servants to afford housing in the neighborhoods where they work.  

When nurses, police officers, firefighters and teachers live and work in the same community, they often volunteer and assist the most disadvantaged in those same neighborhoods. It’s the informal interactions through churches, civic events and neighborhood gatherings that support our homeless and aging populations, children, and people who are suffering with physical and mental illnesses. If our public servants have been priced out of housing options and are spending hours commuting, it cuts down the time they have to do these informal acts of service that were common for decades. We often don’t acknowledge the way these helping professions assist our most disadvantaged through informal structures, and it’s yet another way our most vulnerable are taking the brunt of a housing crisis that clearly needs government intervention to solve.  

Brittan Browning

Salt Lake City