Mountainlands Community Housing Trust flooded with applications for affordable units | ParkRecord.com

Mountainlands Community Housing Trust flooded with applications for affordable units

Mountainlands Community Housing Trust has been flooded with more than 150 applications from people hoping to buy one of 34 affordable housing units in Silver Creek Village Center, displaying a substantial interest that far exceeds the availability of the county's first for-sale deed-restricted units in nearly 10 years.

As part of the village's development agreement, 330 affordable housing units are required to eventually be built throughout the 240-acre residential and commercial town center near the junction of Interstate 80 and U.S. 40.

The developer of the property is donating portions of the land to Mountainlands Community Housing Trust, which will be responsible for building and selling the units, as part of an agreement with the organization. Mountainlands Community Housing Trust is a nonprofit organization advocating for affordable housing in Summit and Wasatch counties through various housing programs.

Mountainlands Community Housing Trust accepted applications between Aug. 20 and Sept. 22 for the first phase of restricted townhomes that will be constructed in Silver Creek Village Center. Applications were submitted by 167 people, with 45 applicants pre-qualifying for the income restrictions. The units will be available to people earning $85,920 or less.

"The applicants are all exactly the people we are targeting to live in our community — school district employees, fire district employees, government and nonprofit workers, long-term employees of the resorts and the like," said Scott Loomis, executive director of the housing trust. "It's an impressive list of people who make this community what it is."

Summit County's lack of affordable housing for professionals and workers in the service industry has been identified by elected officials in both the county and Park City as one of the most pressing issues facing the community. While Park City has led multiple projects in recent years to create more units, the county has not done the same. It has mostly left it up to organizations such as Mountainlands Community Housing Trust to fill the gap.

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The units are priced between roughly $224,000 and $333,000. Loomis said Mountainlands Community Housing Trust is waiting on final construction numbers to determine the exact price of the units. He expects to select buyers within the next 30 to 45 days.

Prospective buyers will be required to work in Summit County. But, Loomis was uncertain how the applicants will be prioritized or selected.

"We haven't set that criteria yet," he said. "It will likely be based on where they work and how long they have worked there. We might give a higher score to those who work for the county, nonprofits or the schools."

The first few units are expected to be complete within the next six months, with construction on the remaining units anticipated to be complete around the end of 2019. Thirty-one of the units are considered affordable units, while the other three are not, Loomis said.

But, he said Mountainlands Community Housing Trust will restrict those units to people earning between 80 and 120 percent of the median income, or $85,920 to $128,880. Loomis said Mountainlands Community Housing Trust has submitted building plans to construct 64 additional apartments. He said the final approvals are needed before those will begin.

Loomis said he is seeing a tremendous demand for those who fall into the group that is referred to as "middle income," earning between 80 and 120 of the median income and higher. He said Mountainlands Community Housing Trust will likely consider building market-rate units for Silver Creek Village Center that aren't considered affordable, but will target those within that earning bracket.

He said the people all of the income ranges are targeting are "exactly the kind of people we want living in our community."

"They've worked here for a long time and their positions are very important to making this community what it is," he said.