OPINION — Southern Utah is currently facing an unparalleled historical crisis in affordable housing. Homeownership remains unattainable for a significant portion of our community, and the younger generation has so many barriers to owning their own home. Because of this, so many are not afforded the opportunity to build equity and accumulate household wealth. This will have far-reaching consequences and could perpetuate intergenerational poverty for future descendants.

Stock image | Photo by lucigerma/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

Affordable housing necessitates an innovative solution that addresses two key factors impacting affordability: reducing construction costs and offering lower monthly payments. An all-encompassing affordable housing initiative must contain both aspects.

For more than 40 years, Habitat for Humanity in Utah has been dedicated to offering secure and comfortable housing for low- to moderate-income working families. This is achieved by maintaining affordable housing costs with the help of local community backing and providing low- or no-interest loans. Partner families contribute through mortgage payments, which not only sustains the program but also paves the way for future families to attain homeownership. The program is designed to be self-sustaining in the long term.

Gov. Spencer Cox recently unveiled his “Utah First Homes” initiative designed to increase homeownership by 35,000 homes, specifically aimed at first-time homebuyers. The components of this initiative almost perfectly mirror the Habitat for Humanity program that is already operational and expanding.

Habitat for Humanity is a community solution with an innovative approach that has been operational in this arena for decades and mirrors the governor’s goals.

I would advocate for the state to prioritize affordable housing solutions. It is essential to strive toward ensuring that homeownership remains attainable for future generations, safeguarding this opportunity from being lost within the current generation. Habitat for Humanity can assist in this goal.

Submitted by KRISTA LONGHURST, executive director for Habitat for Humanity of Southwest Utah.

Letters to the Editor are not the product of St. George News, its editors, staff or news contributors. The matters stated and opinions given are the responsibility of the person submitting them. They do not reflect the product or opinion of St. George News and are given only light edit for technical style and formatting.