Utah cities without a homeless shelter or affordable housing would pay into a pot of money helping to run the state’s homeless shelters.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported yesterday that HB462, sponsored by Rep. Steve Eliason, R-Sandy, and co-sponsored by Utah representatives from both sides of the aisle, would fund $6.6 million for homeless shelter operations in the state. Half of that funding would be provided by cities having less than the statewide average of affordable and low-income housing and don’t have a homeless shelter.

Eliason said he wanted to give an incentive to cities to facilitate development of affordable housing.

“This bill would have been so much easier to draft if I would have just said $6.6 million from the general fund,” Eliason said. “But it [would do] nothing to address the issue of helping people step out of homelessness and back into the community.”

The fee is capped at $200,000 for large cities without a homeless shelter or less than the average of affordable housing units. House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper, called this bill “must-pass legislation.” View the bill on Utah’s Legislature page.