South Jordan Donates Money to Homeless Assistance FundsAug 10, 2015 10:15AM ● By Bryan Scott
By James Luke
The City of South Jordan shared its burgeoning Redevelopment Agency (RDA) funds with two groups that work to address the needs of homeless and low-income people in the state. At a brief ceremony at the opening of the city council meeting on May 5, Mayor Alvord explained, “The South Jordan RDA collects a tax increment to promote economic development within the city. Under state code, the city is required to set aside 20 percent of the funds for low-income housing development.”
Recognizing the good work of the two organizations that the city selected for the gifts, Alvord presented checks in the amount of $700,000 to the Olene Walker Housing Loan Fund and $300,000 to the Pamela Atkinson Homeless Trust Fund from the city’s RDA low-income housing fund.
Economic Development Director Brian Preece explained to the council at the March 3 session, when they approved the donations that the RDA low-income fund had grown to nearly $7,000,000. Under state law the city has a duty to spend money from the fund on projects to benefit low-income individuals.
Due to high land values in South Jordan, it is not economically feasible to create projects aimed at helping to house people who are in the 50 percent or lower categories of median income, Preece noted in presenting the proposal to donate money to the statewide housing assistance funds. The Garden Senior Living development at 10800 South Redwood Road is an example of a local project that benefitted from a $275,000 grant from the city’s RDA fund. The condominiums have been added to South Jordan’s supply of housing options for those who are in the 80 percent of median income category.
The state encourages use of RDA funds to assist with regional housing needs, so the South Jordan City Council agreed to contribute money to two deserving groups. Both of the organizations work in Salt Lake County and throughout the state to address the needs of low-income and homeless populations.
The Pamela Atkinson Homeless Trust Fund is one of the state’s principal means of helping non-profit agencies to provide critical services to the roughly 15,462 homeless individuals in Utah (as of 2010). About a third of what the Pamela Atkinson Fund provides is transitional and permanent housing resources, with another third going toward emergency shelters for homeless people.
Families make up more than 43 percent of the state’s homeless population, many consisting of a single mother with young children. The Pamela Atkinson Fund focuses the final third of their efforts on helping this vulnerable group and others with services such as outreach, case management support, meals and day centers that provide critical services.
The Olene Walker Housing Loan Fund was created in 1987 to help make safe and affordable housing available for people in Utah who live on low incomes. Money from the Olene Walker Fund serves as bridge financing for developers, in the form of grants and loans that they are able to leverage to get federal and private equity and tax credits to develop housing for people who are typically unable to access the housing market without some assistance.