Utah Is Getting over $126 Million in Federal Dollars for Solar Projects, Affordable Housing and Homeless Projects, and Fixing Lead Pipes

Over the past several weeks, two federal government agencies, and/or their state-level counterparts, have announced over $126 million in combined funding for projects here in Utah.

Utah Is Getting over $126 Million in Federal Dollars for Solar Projects, Affordable Housing and Homeless Projects, and Fixing Lead Pipes
Photo downloaded from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website on 06 May 2024.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is sending $91 million to Utah, while the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is sending $35 million to the state.

Over the past several weeks, two federal government agencies, and/or their state-level counterparts, have announced over $126 million in combined funding for projects here in Utah.

In summary, the $126 million breaks down as follows:

  1. $91 million from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for two separate projects, and
  2. $35 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

These monies are headed to Utah for deployment in what are traditionally underserved and low-income communities in the state.

Here's how the dollars are being divvied out for the three projects.

ONE: The "Solar For All" Campaign $62.45 Million for Utah

According to the Utah Office of Energy Development (OED), Utah is 1 of 60 recipients selected to participate in the "Solar For All" program sponsored by the EPA, with $62.45 being allocated for spending within the state.

As explained in the OED's recent news release, the Solar For All program is a subset of the EPA's $7 billion Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund which, itself, is designed to

"... increase access to the benefits of solar power for traditionally underserved and low-income communities ..." across the U.S.
Residental solar panels being installed. Photo by raze-solar-3fuyuCKx2iA (via Unsplash) and downloaded 13 May 2024.

For its part, the OED will direct the $62.45 million grant to vulnerable communities in the state with a goal of helping them "... gain energy independence and resiliency, and (improve) the (electrical) grid."

In describing this recent funding award, Greg Todd, Director of Utah's OED, said

“We’ll be leveraging these funds to supply grants and low-cost financing for those who would normally find the cost of installing solar power prohibitive."

To put things into context, as of 2022, "Utah was ninth in the nation for solar generating capacity."

Details about where the monies will be deployed within the state will be disclosed by the OED at a future date.

TWO: $35 Million for Affordable Housing in Utah

According to this HUD news release, Utah is receiving just over $35 million in 2024 for a variety of affordable housing programs, specifically

  • $21,300,161 via Community Development Block Grants. CDBGs provide annual grants on a formula basis to States, cities, counties, and insular areas to develop stronger, more resilient communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment, and by expanding economic opportunities, principally for low- and moderate-income people. Utah is 1 of 1,254 CDBG Grantees.
  • $7,379,395 via the HOME Investment Partnerships Program. HOME is the primary Federal tool of States and local governments to produce affordable rental and owner-occupied housing for low-income families. Utah is 1 of 668 HOME Grantees.
  • $3,144,833 via the Housing Trust Fund. HTF is an affordable housing production program that complements existing Federal, state and local efforts to increase and preserve the supply of decent, safe, and sanitary affordable housing for extremely low- and very low-income households, including families experiencing homelessness. Each of the 50 states receives HTF funding.
  • $1,896,470 via Emergency Solutions Grants. ESG provides funds for homeless shelters, assists in the operation of local shelters, and funds related social service and homeless prevention programs. Utah is 1 of 357 ESG Grantees.
  • $1,306,547 via the Housing Opportunities for Persons With HIV/AIDS program. HOPWA program provides stable and permanent housing assistance and supportive services to low-income people living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Utah is 1 of 130 HOPWA Grantees.

The Utah Department of Workforce Services is the state entity responsible for overseeing the deployment of these funds.

According to Rebecca Banner, Deputy Director of the DWS,

"The Department of Workforce Services relies on a mix of state, federal, and philanthropic grants to power our statewide efforts in combating homelessness, creating affordable housing and building stronger communities. This combined funding forms the backbone of our comprehensive approach, enabling us to implement crucial programs and initiatives that make a tangible difference in the lives of individuals and families across the state."

THREE: $28.6 Million for Lead Pipe Removal in Utah

Based on results from its 7th Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment (published April 2023), the EPA estimates there are "... 9.2 million lead service lines (aka, lead pipes) across the country."

So when the EPA announced in early May that it had awarded $28.65 million to the state of Utah to address this ongoing challenge, clearly the need is great, as noted in this email response from the Utah Department of Environmental Quality:

"Lead is a toxic heavy metal that can target almost every organ system in the body, but it is especially harmful to the brain and nervous system, even at low levels. Babies and young children are the most vulnerable to lead poisoning because their bodies are still growing and developing. They also absorb 4–5 times more lead than adults."

According to Utah's soon-to-retire U.S. Senator, Mitt Romney:

“This funding—nearly $29 million—will go a long way in protecting public health and ensuring that Utahns continue to have safe drinking water.” 
Official U.S. Senate portrait of Mitt Romney; photo downloaded from Wikipedia 13 May 2024.

According to this page on the EPA website, two of the lead pipe projects that will be addressed in Utah are located at two separate Homeowner Associations, specifically

  • A 208-person HOA near Cedar City, as well as
  • A 280-person HOA in Spanish Fork.

Financial / monetary updates on these and other governmental fundings will be reported on as they are announced in the future.


This article was originally published and distributed to our Subscribers on 13 May 2024.

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