Salt Lake City aims to construct ‘micro-apartments’ to relieve homelessness

Uncategorized

<p>Salt Lake City is considering revising a city zoning ordinance to make way for housing the homeless. They’re called single-room occupancies or micro-apartments. The dorm-style of living is a more affordable option for low-income residents. (Photo: KUTV){/p}

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — Salt Lake City is considering revising a city zoning ordinance to make way for housing the homeless.

They’re called single-room occupancies or micro-apartments. The dorm-style of living is a more affordable option for low-income residents.

The Rio Grande Hotel rents out 50 of these rooms as part of its non-profit, A Tall Order.

“We’re able to charge in the low to mid $300 a month, that includes all their utilities,” said Brent Willis, Executive Director of the hotel.

They opened up shop 15 years ago and have been using the transitional housing space to help Salt Lake’s homeless population get back on their feet.

Jim Head has been living at the hotel for 3 years.

“This is home,” he said.

His small quarters have nothing but a full-sized bed, some closet space and sink, but it’s plenty for Head.

Salt Lake City is considering revising a city zoning ordinance to make way for housing the homeless. They’re called single-room occupancies or micro-apartments. The dorm-style of living is a more affordable option for low-income residents. (Photo: KUTV)

“It’s comfortable and relaxing,” he said.

For him, it’s the price of repentance, something he says he’ll be paying his whole life.

“I made the wrong choices in life. I was incarcerated for 12 years,” Head said.

When he got out of prison, he didn’t have much. That’s when he heard of The Hotel Rio Grande. He now works a volunteer to help others like him get back on their feet.

“I’m helping people that are going through what I went through,” Head said.

Salt Lake City wants to create more micro-apartments modeled after the Hotel Rio Grande, but right now, the city’s zoning ordinances won’t allow it.

“It only allows these units in certain areas, along 400 south and North Temple,” said Nick Norris, Salt Lake City Planning Director.

Constructing single-room occupancies are an affordable option to solving the city’s homeless problem, Norris said.

“We don’t have enough housing units for very low-income households. This provides more options,” he said.

A proposal set to go before the city council would change the zoning ordinance to allow the city to construct micro-apartments in other areas of town.

“We do have to do something about it. If we continue down the path we’ve been on we’re not going to help people with the highest needs,” Norris said.

Salt Lake City Council will hold a public hearing on the issue on Tuesday, April 23.

Download the 2News mobile app for iPhone or Android.

Source Article