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A $1 million matching grant hopes to "jumpstart" affordable housing in Park City

Park City Board of Realtors

Mountainlands Community Housing, the Park City Board of Realtors and Park City Community Foundation have partnered and are hosting a party to raise money for local affordable housing projects. That housing fund got a big boost on Tuesday.

A matching grant for $1 million was announced at Tuesday’s Park City Rotary Club meeting. The Solomon family, including Beano, her child Virginia and daughter-in-law Jenn are putting up the funds which will be matched by the community as well as through state and federal grants.

Beano Solomon says the money is to jumpstart affordable housing in town.

“I wanted to do something and do it as a family to include Virginia and Jenn,” Beano said. “We were either talking about what to do or just about affordable housing, Jenn started to cry and said that at some point in her life she had lived in her car, and that some liftie in Tahoe had just died living in his car in the winter. So, they wanted to get involved somehow to help the town with its affordable housing issue. It really came from them.”

As real estate becomes only more expensive in the Wasatch Back, the Park City Board of Realtors CEO Jamie Johnson says the board’s affordable housing committee started talking about what it can do to get involved.

“So, through that,” Johnson said, “the realtors decided, well, what do we do? Well, we love to throw parties. So, let's do a big fundraising event where we can get the community at large to come together to raise money for this issue, and to also educate on what the projects are and what's happening.”

Johnson says the party will be held September 9 at the Utah Film Studio at 6:30 p.m. There will be dinner and dancing to a live band with the hope that sponsors and donors will help grow the affordable housing fund.

“The tickets are $165 apiece, and $1,500 for a table of 10,” she said. “And then we have lots of different levels of sponsorships that are available. And I'm starting to see community leaders come in and sponsor this event as well.”

The money raised will go to support Mountainlands Community Housing Trust. Executive Director Pat Matheson says the plan is to rehabilitate the aging Holiday Village and Parkside Apartments off Monitor Drive and Kearns Blvd.

“The Holiday Village and Parkside apartments here in Park City by Dozier Field are 40 years old and could use some love and attention. And we want to make that a better place to live for the people who are living there - 122 households who call that place home. We are raising funds out in the community through this event, and in other ways in order to make that project better, and potentially add some units there as well.”

One of the biggest challenges will be doing the construction with people still living there. It’s important that people stay in place Matheson says because of the federal funding that the project receives, which is no longer available for new affordable housing projects.

“We have what's called rental assistance on that property, whereby the federal government gives us the difference between what people can afford to pay which they calculate at 30% of their income, and what the rental amount is that we need in order to cover our costs to operate the project and pay our debt payments and that sort of thing. That rental assistance is you can't get more of it. We couldn't build a new project and go get rental assistance. So, we got to preserve what we have there.”

The hope he says is that Mountainlands will be able to add 50-100 new units between the two projects without having a huge impact on existing tenants. Any new units would not be eligible for the rental assistance but the plan he says is to keep them affordable.

Here is thelink to purchase tickets to the Hats Off for Affordable Housing fundraiser.