Left: Iron County Care and Share Building, Cedar City, Utah, September 15, 2022. Right: Canyon Creek Services Building, Cedar City, Utah, September 16, 2022 | Photos by Jeff Richards, St. George News/Cedar City News
CEDAR TOWN — Two Iron County organizations have been announced as joint recipients of a $6 million grant from the American Rescue Plan and the Utah Office of Homeless Services to create more affordable housing in Cedar City and in surrounding communities.
Iron County Care and Share and Canyon Creek Services have partnered with third-party group NetGain Property Management to purchase an existing apartment building that will add much-needed affordable housing for the area, according to a press release emailed Thursday by Business Wire. .
“This grant helps Care and Share continue to help underserved members of the community,” said Peggy Green, whose last day as executive director of Iron County Care and Share was Thursday. Green said she was leaving that job after six and a half years to take up a position with the Utah Office of Homeless Services.
“We are now able to both direct those who come to us to the shelter and have better resources to provide food and other necessities,” Green said, adding that the grant represents the highest amount ever invested in affordable housing in Iron County.
“This will have a huge impact on our ability to help families, veterans and other homeless people,” Green added.
Kait Sorensen, executive director of Canyon Creek Services, which helps and provides services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, spoke about the 30-unit apartment complex that is expected to be purchased with the grant money.
“This is a very affordable housing partnership grant in the form of an apartment complex,” Sorensen told Cedar City News on Thursday. “We will be able to reserve 10 units for our clients at a very affordable price, which is really helping some of our survivors find safe, independent housing.”
An additional 10 units will be for people receiving services from Iron County Care and Share, Sorensen added, noting that the remaining 10 units at the resort will be leased at fair market value, which she says will support the project and help make it independently sustainable. .
“It’s something that our community and our organization especially needs,” Sorensen added.
Shannon Smith, housing coordinator for Canyon Creek Services, said new landlord organizations do not plan to evict existing tenants as soon as property changes hands.
“We don’t want to add to the problem,” Smith said. “So we would definitely let people expire their lease, and then let them know we weren’t going to renew, and move (other) people into such units.”
“Some of them will probably still be eligible because most of the community here is at or below the poverty line,” Smith added.
Officials noted that housing designated as “very affordable” is for people with an annual income of less than $25,000.
Derek Morton, owner and principal broker of NetGain Property Management, said the actual purchase of the apartments had not yet taken place but was still under negotiation. Still, he said he expects a deal to be reached soon.
“This project is actually a game-changer for both organizations,” Morton told Cedar City News on Thursday. “It gives us the ability to be a bit more self-reliant and to be able to really try to solve the problems on our own. That’s what’s really exciting about it.
“We are always looking for solutions to local housing issues, to bring courage to the housing industry,” Morton added. “This grant makes those goals and hopes a reality. We look forward to helping both Care and Share and Canyon Creek Services provide options for those facing housing insecurity.
According to the press release, the organizations’ co-ownership of the property will provide them with greater flexibility to assist their clients, while generating revenue for future programs and projects. The willingness of organizations to work collaboratively towards long-term solutions would have been a major factor in their selection for the competitive grant.
“These housing options also benefit vulnerable victims of domestic violence and expand their options to achieve safety and independence,” the press release adds.
Canyon Creek Services Director Sorensen emphasized the importance of safe and affordable housing for those in crisis, noting:
Safe and independent housing is an incredible obstacle for survivors fleeing violence. The benefits of this grant allow our organization to provide even more resources and options to those most vulnerable, and a more sustainable option for these families to start over and build new lives.
Green, who starts her new job on Monday, said as a program manager for the state Office of Homeless Services, she will help oversee and work with local homeless councils throughout the state. The office operates within the Utah Department of Workforce Services.
Green said she’s especially happy that her new position will allow her to continue living in Cedar City, where she will mostly work remotely while making occasional, perhaps weekly, trips to Salt Lake City and other places. regions as needed.
“I’m so excited to be able to keep that connection and still be able to help, obviously, within my home base,” Green told Cedar City News.
The job posting for a new Executive Director of Iron County Care and Share has already been posted. The non-profit organization, which also serves Beaver, Garfield and Kane counties, provides assistance and resources to individuals and families in need. Until a new director is hired, other staff and board members will help keep things running smoothly, Green said, adding that she will also help train her successor.
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