SALT LAKE CITY – Salt Lake County took a big step Friday to preserve and improve nearly 300 affordable seniors housing units.
Not only will these apartments remain affordable for eligible seniors, but they will also be renovated.
“Our agency truly believes that affordable housing is an asset to the community,” said Janice Kimball, CEO of Housing Connect, which is the county’s housing authority.
They broke new ground today to unify and modernize two 50-year-old public housing buildings, County High Rise and New City Plaza.
They are located east of the Salt Lake County Government Building.
This rehabilitation of the apartments means a lot to the residents. Their average annual income is $13,000. They now have few good options in the open housing market.
“Right now, affordable housing is in crisis,” Kimball said. “We just don’t have enough affordable housing in Salt Lake and we can’t afford to lose any.”
Each apartment will be renovated with a new layout, cabinets, appliances, carpeting, paint and wiring for high-speed internet.
Construction, which begins Tuesday, will upgrade 299 units and add a one-story building to connect the two buildings.
Teams will also update common areas, plumbing and elevators.
“It’s been tough, my God, unbelievable,” said James Navejar, who was homeless for 20 years before moving to New City Plaza seven years ago.
He was moved when he talked about having a home and neighbors who care about him.
“I can’t say how grateful I am. Very grateful. Extremely grateful, and it’s a one-step miracle,” Navejar said.
The $76 million project is funded by the federal government and the state.
Nearly $150,000 will be spent on the renovation of each unit.
“We’re creating a beautiful place for people who need affordable housing to live,” said Erin Litvack, Salt Lake County Deputy Mayor and Housing Connect Commissioner. “Pride in your home and pride in where you are, and being an active member of our community in a safe and affordable unit is something we always strive for.”
This project ensures that these housing units remain affordable for the first visible future.