In response to the growing lack of affordable housing in Utah, two foundations based in the state are announcing plans to build nearly 850 rent-subsidized dwellings in seven cities. The philanthropic initiative, called Housing for Impact, will fund the construction of apartments and townhomes in Salt Lake City, South Jordan, Draper, Magna, Lehi, Francis, and Park City. These developments will be located near community resources and will be kept within financial reach of residents earning below their county’s median incomes.
The two foundations involved in the project are Ivory Innovations, affiliated with Ivory Homes (Utah’s largest homebuilder), and Call To Action, affiliated with FJ Management (owner of the Maverik and Kum & Go chains of convenience stores). The initiative will be announced by Utah Governor Spencer Cox, along with representatives from Ivory Innovations and Call To Action.
The Housing for Impact projects will provide housing options for individuals and families with various income levels. About 25% of the homes will be rented at market rates, 35% will be available for those making 80% of the area median income, and 40% will be set aside for those earning 60% of the area median income. This initiative comes as Utah faces a severe affordable housing crisis, with rents outpacing wages and the median home price being six times the median yearly income.
The projects will not only provide much-needed affordable housing, but will also serve as a showcase for innovations in finance, design, and construction. Ivory Innovations hopes to inspire new ideas and practices within the homebuilding industry to further address housing affordability issues. As part of their efforts, Ivory Innovations also hosts the annual Ivory Prize, recognizing companies, nonprofits, and governments that contribute to housing affordability.
The involvement of FJ Management’s foundation, Call To Action, stems from the company’s commitment to addressing the needs of its hourly employees. FJ Management operates the Maverik and Kum & Go convenience store chains and found that food and housing were the top challenges faced by its employees. With the recent sale of a stake in the Flying J fueling station chain, Call To Action is expanding its charitable efforts to include affordable housing as part of its mission.
Overall, the Housing for Impact initiative aims to make a significant impact on Utah’s affordable housing crisis and serve as a model for other cities, homebuilders, and workers.
- The Salt Lake Tribune