Across the US, the lack of affordable housing has reached a crisis. In some of the biggest cities, like San Francisco, LA, or New York City, a shortage of supplies has led to soaring prices. Many low- and middle-income families who live in these cities are unable to afford housing. The median price of a house in San Francisco is $1.6 million – and most of the houses there are very modest. Unfortunately, the problem extends beyond those big cities, and now even into rural areas.

In 80% of metropolitan regions, home prices are rising faster than wages. This is turning us into a country of renters. Compared to their parents when they were the same age, less young people are able to purchase homes. Renters miss out on wealth accumulation that comes with home ownership. Even worse, rent is becoming unaffordable for many. For the past 20 years, rent has risen faster than income. 

Even here in Utah, the price of housing puts low-income families at a risk for homelessness. In Salt Lake County, rent has jumped by about 80% since 2000, but public assistance has not kept up. Even the record construction of apartments built in Salt Lake City has not kept up with demand so far. Utah’s legislature passed a bill this year to spend $35 million on rental assistance and low-income apartments. It is a good start, but much has to be done. 

“Affordable Housing.” National Alliance to End Homelessness,

Lowrey, Annie. “The Great Affordability Crisis Breaking America.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 7 Feb. 2020,

Semerad, Tony, and Salt Lake Tribune, Inc. “New Utah Housing Bill Would Put $35M into Rental Assistance and More Low-Income Apartments.” The Salt Lake Tribune,


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