Report: 94-hour workweek required at minimum wage to afford 2-bedroom apartment in Utah


SALT LAKE CITY — Before Larry Darden moved out in early 2016, he “was afraid to go to sleep at night” in his downtown Salt Lake apartment.

Roaches infested the place. There were attempted break-ins. Darden never felt comfortable or secure.

“It was very, very unsafe at my last address,” Darden says.

Despite the deplorable conditions, Darden was hundreds of dollars per month short of being able to consistently afford his apartment.

But after his applications for a place elsewhere were met with repeated rejections due to his prior criminal record, Darden was given a lifeline. He was able to get in at the Lowell Apartments, a low-income affordable housing complex at 233 E. 700 South managed by the Utah Nonprofit Housing Corp.

“Once I moved from there into here, it was like moving into paradise,” Darden told the Deseret News while proudly giving a tour of his one-bedroom apartment.

But even the Lowell Apartments took nearly a year to get Darden in — largely because of the overwhelming demand in Salt Lake City for affordable housing for low-income residents. Darden knows how fortunate he is.

“Here, it’s quiet, it’s respectful. There’s no problems, it’s a great place to lay your head in,” Darden said. “It’s very, very hard to find a place like this.”

The standard rent at the Lowell Apartments is a below-market rate of $575 per month — a few hundred dollars less than he was paying — and there is flexibility on top of that. Darden works as a residential assistant there to earn the remaining amount he cannot pay.

Many other Utahns who could use affordable housing are not as lucky. Officials estimate the state has a shortage of 43,000 affordable units. For those who simply can’t get in, the mainstream housing market has their way with them.

And that market has not been kind …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Moneywise News

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