Utah’s rising homeless population reflects a broader trend in the U.S., where the overall number of people without a permanent home rose for the first time since 2010.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) said that homelessness increased 0.7% on a certain day in January to more than 553,000 people. While Los Angeles accounted for a majority of the increase, Utah has aimed to solve the problem by looking into more mixed-income housing.
Ivis Garcia, an assistant professor at the University of Utah, said that a mix of market rate, affordable and low-income units in a single property serves as the best potential long-term solution to the problem. This will allow people in different economic backgrounds to have more options when it comes to housing.
Another aspect of solving homelessness involves an equal “access of opportunity” between the rich and poor, according to Garcia. This means people should pay for the same facilities, such as schools and parks, as opposed to creating a distinction between the less fortunate and well-off groups.
Property developers will also be important in solving the problem. Those who want to venture into mixed-income projects yet have limited funds may do so by applying for multifamily development loans, as suggested by Bonneville Multifamily Capital. As more people need low-income housing, the demand for such properties presents a good opportunity for companies to drum up some business.
Other than Utah, some parts of the West Coast, such as Seattle and San Diego, face a severe lack of affordable properties, according to the HUD. However, HUD Secretary Ben Carson said that the homeless population nationwide has fallen 13% compared to 2010.
The public and private sector should work together to solve the increasing rate of homelessness in the country, whether through funding programs or the release of more land for development.