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Sugar House Journal

Housing Authority of Salt Lake City receives national awards, recognized for its affordable housing initiatives

Nov 12, 2019 15h21 ● By Deserae Dorton

The 9th East Lofts front entry way with design in mind. (Photo courtesy of HASLC)

By Deserae Dorton | [email protected]

The Housing Authority of Salt Lake City (HASLC) was recently awarded two National Awards of Excellence for its 9th East Lofts at Bennion Plaza (Project Design Category) and Framing Program-Persons Experiencing Homelessness (Resident and Client Services Category) from the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO). The NAHRO also awarded the Housing Authority of Salt Lake City with five other awards of merit in affordable housing, resident and client services categories.

The Awards of Excellence highlight ways in which housing agencies make a difference in their communities and in the lives of the people they serve. 

The HASLC award-winning entries included the following:

  • 9th East Lofts at Bennion Plaza — located in the East Central Community Council District of Salt Lake City and adjacent to the 9th East Light Rail TRAX station, is considered a true Transit-Oriented Development (TOD). It meets the “walkable community” criteria and is the first building in Utah to receive the Energy Star Multi-Family High Rise Certification; and
  • Framing Program for Persons Experiencing Homelessness — the HASLC partnered with state and local government, and the local community college to create a construction framing program to be offered to single individuals experiencing homelessness. Participants were given an apartment for six months, furniture, food, household items and transportation to class. At the end of the six-week course, participants were given a certificate of proficiency in framing and interviewed by local construction companies. Twelve people were selected for the program, eight graduated from the course.

Britnee Dabb, deputy director of the Housing Authority of Salt Lake City calls the awards a true honor. “We are so thrilled to be recognized nationally for our staff’s hard work,” Dabb said. 

The HASLC opened Utah’s first permanent supportive housing complex April 2007, Sunrise Metro. Now almost 30 properties later, the national awards are a boost to the staff who have been working hard to accommodate the growing need of affordable housing in the Salt Lake Valley. 

This year the HASLC broke ground on their newest, permanent supportive housing, Pamela’s Place. The new complex will be right across the street from the first site, built over 12 years ago, and will be 100 units of permanent supportive housing. 

What is supportive housing?

Supportive housing combines affordable housing assistance with wrap-around supportive services for people experiencing homelessness, as well as other people with disabilities with no time limit attached.

The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness states that many studies have shown that supportive housing not only resolves homelessness and increases housing stability, but also improves health and lowers public costs by reducing the use of publicly-funded crisis services, including shelters, hospitals, psychiatric centers, jails and prisons.

Dabb said the HASLC provides permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless individuals. “There are supportive services available onsite and some case management that happens and they can take them off site to appointments and so forth,” Dabb said. “It just depends on their needs.”

HASLC’s mission is to provide affordable housing opportunities for our community. “Currently, we house close to 10,000 individuals in Salt Lake Valley,” Dabb said. “Whether that is one of the sites we own, or we provide a voucher which allows them to live where they prefer in the Salt Lake Valley.”

The impact of affordable housing on the Salt Lake Valley

“We strive to provide affordable housing to any individual who qualifies in the Salt Lake Valley,” Dabb said. The program is not selective to a person’s situation. Individuals who benefit from affordable housing could be working adults, families, those looking for employment, retiring or retired. 

“Housing is just such a critical basic need,” Dabb said. “We are proud to be able to help with that. When you have a roof over your head, and somewhere warm to sleep, you can concentrate on things like finding a job or getting to school or just enjoying the day. When you’re not worried about where you’re going to sleep, or where you’re going to keep your things, you can focus on other things.”