To the editor:
The Bangerter administration, particularly Lt. Gov. Val Ovenson, should be congratulated for recommending a $200,000 supplemental increase in this year's state budget for low income housing. Those of us who work with and for the homeless and disadvantaged in our community are pleased that our state's leaders have begun to recognize the growing need for affordable housing and to view spending of state dollars for low income housing as a wise investment in Utah's future.The Critical Needs Housing Appropriation for low income housing is $300,000 in 1989, a relatively paltry sum. (This year, Californians passed two ballot initiatives to bond for a total of $450 million for housing for their homeless and low income populations.) For every dollar Utah invests in low income housing, we receive up to six dollars in federal matching funds to construct and rehabilitate housing for the homeless, elderly, handicapped, poor, rural, and Native Americans in our state. Much of that money returns to state coffers as repayments on low interest loans, and all of it circulates in the economy, providing jobs for developers, homebuilders, subcontractors, and suppliers. This is economic development that benefits everyone.
The recommended supplemental for this year is a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, the governor's budget fails to increase next year's appropriation for low income housing. With the state's economy and the revenue projections improving, now is the time to make further investments in the housing sector. We hope that the Legislature will agree by approving the supplemental request and increasing the fiscal 1990 budget for Critical Needs Housing by the same amount.
Steve Erickson, chairman
Salt Lake County Homeless Coordinating Committee