Strategic Goal #3: Inventory and Utilize Public Lands for More Housing

03 June, 2023

In Salt Lake County, the lack of housing is a pressing issue, affecting individuals and families throughout the county. As populations grow and urban areas expand, communities must address the need for affordable housing. One critical solution lies in the inventory and allocation of public land to build more housing. Communities should take proactive measures to tackle the housing crisis and realize the benefits of utilizing public land to create new housing.

1. Addressing the Housing Crisis

The shortage of affordable housing has reached alarming levels in many communities, resulting in skyrocketing rents and homelessness rates. By inventorying and allocating public land for housing, communities can directly address this crisis. Public land is a valuable resource that, when properly utilized, can provide an opportunity to build more housing options for individuals and families.

2. Meeting the Needs of Vulnerable Populations

A significant advantage of utilizing public land for affordable housing is the ability to cater to the needs of vulnerable populations. These populations include the homeless, senior citizens, individuals with disabilities, and low-income families. By developing housing on public land, communities can ensure that the most vulnerable have access to safe and secure housing options, promoting social equity and inclusion.

3. Preserving and Enhancing Community Fabric

By prioritizing the allocation of public land for new housing, communities can preserve and enhance the community fabric. Housing can be designed to fit neatly into existing neighborhoods, promoting a sense of community and creating opportunity for everyone to live in a great neighborhood. This approach fosters diversity and social cohesion, creating vibrant and inclusive communities that are more environmentally and financially sustainable.  

4. Maximizing Land Value and Resources

Public land often lies unused or underutilized, representing missed opportunities for communities to maximize their land value and resources. By converting such land into houses, communities can derive economic and social benefits. Housing can generate rental income, contribute to local revenues, and stimulate the local economy through job creation during the construction phase. Additionally, public land can be utilized more efficiently, optimizing land resources for the benefit of the entire community.

5. Long-Term Affordability and Sustainability

Allocating public land for housing allows communities to ensure long-term affordability, maintenance, and sustainability. By retaining ownership or placing land under long-term lease agreements, communities can maintain control over affordability measures, preventing the displacement of residents due to rising rents or property values. Moreover, housing can be designed to incorporate energy-efficient technologies and sustainable practices aimed at reducing pollution.

6. Leveraging Partnerships and Resources

Public-private partnerships and collaboration with nonprofit organizations plays a crucial role in developing housing on public land. Communities can leverage these partnerships to access additional resources, expertise, and funding to build more houses. 


The inventory and allocation of public land for new housing presents a viable and effective solution to the ongoing housing crisis faced by communities countywide. By embracing this approach, communities can address the pressing need for housing, meet the needs of vulnerable populations, preserve community fabric, maximize land value and resources, ensure long-term affordability and sustainability, all while leveraging partnerships and resources. Communities should take proactive measures to prioritize housing initiatives and utilize public land as a valuable asset to create thriving neighborhoods where everyone has access to safe, decent, and affordable housing.