Provo City Council confirms housing projects

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College Place is a housing facility located southeast of the BYU campus. It provides 71 units to single women. (Alycia Ikegami)

Housing demand has pushed Provo to create a housing committee in hopes of building affordable housing.

According to the United States Census Bureau, 40.7 percent of homes in Utah are occupied by the owner and 39.2 percent of homeowners are living in the same house as the previous year. Additionally, 71.1 percent of homeowners fall between the ages of 18-65.

“We have heard that some people believe that Provo City is turning down development projects for higher density housing. This is simply not true. The City Council has not turned down any higher density projects in the past three years,” the Provo City Council said in a statement.

The new housing committee is educated on issues relating to affordable housing. It has brought in experts to discuss ways to increase affordable housing options and create legislation to assist developers in increasing housing options in the city.

Silicon Slopes and the fast-growing nearby cities have also influenced the housing market in Provo. While BYU students contribute about 25 percent of the population in Provo, there are many other variables which affect Provo’s unique situation.

“The overall housing shortage isn’t something we can resolve overnight,” the Provo City Council wrote on its blog. “However, we are confident that we are making strides in the right direction.”

Over 1,500 new housing units in Provo have been approved or are currently in the process of receiving approval by Provo in the past three years. Of these projects, the Pacific Heights project created 71 units for female BYU students since 2016.

According to BYU off-campus housing reports, there were 1,540 single, off-campus waivers approved for Winter 2018.

“Students have to choose a place to live between January and February for the fall semester. If you wait until August or September, your chances will be slim,” said Garry Briggs, the off-campus housing general manager.

The city council’s statement has sparked some excitement among Provo residents struggling to find affordable housing.

“Finding housing for my family is so hard in Provo. You just have to always be looking on Facebook and be quick to message,” said Nick Jones, a married student at BYU.

According to the Utah County Housing Authority, there are roughly 40,000 displaced families in Utah. Some BYU students are among those who cannot find housing. While the city development targets various future residents, it will bring some change to the student off-campus housing options.

According to BYU housing contract coordinator Sharylann Smith, there are still over 400 families on the on-campus housing waitlist for Fall 2018. With the semester quickly approaching, these families have to wait for an available contract on the “Available Apartments page,” or add their housing request to the Family Housing Waiting List.

Redstone Residential Leasing Manager Kaylin Steed said there needs to be more housing in Provo because of the high demand.

“I feel like you often have to know someone to get married housing,” Steed said.

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