Meet The Man Assigned To Solve Utah’s Housing Affordability Crisis

Utah is in a housing and homeless crisis and Steve Waldrip came on the Utah Stories podcast to address these issues.


Utah is in the midst of a housing and homeless crisis. Gov. Cox appointed Steve Waldrip as new Senior Advisor for Housing Strategy and Innovation, which is similar to a special task force created to solve the problem. Waldrip is a former Utah State legislator, developer and attorney. 

The following are excerpts from Utah Stories’ interview with Waldrip: 

You visited the Utah Stories podcast and answered the toughest questions related to the housing shortage we find ourselves in.

Our first question is, why have developers been assigned to solve this problem when arguably it is developers who got us into this problem in the first place?

“Yeah it’s like having the foxes in the henhouse,” Waldrip quipped. “The reason why developers are assigned to this task force is because the legal issues surrounding housing policy are very complicated, and only developers and legal experts can understand how to effectively change the laws.

“But to an amateur analyst, it’s all due to our zoning regulations and massive amounts of regulation that this problem was created in the first place. If ADU laws were loosened, tiny home laws and zoning were loosened, prefabricated homes would be allowed — the housing crisis could go away overnight.”

All of the solutions are already on the table. The government isn’t the solution. The government is the problem. Waldrip agrees.

From banking, to permitting, to architecture, to construction, to labor and material costs, Waldrip says there is more regulation and government interference in housing than almost any sector of our economy. These tight regulations need to be reformed, but Waldrip says he is unable at the state level to make significant reforms because this is a very local issue. Counties, cities and townships have to step up and allow more zoning changes that would permit affordable housing in their areas. 

Waldrip said in a recent speech to some of Utah’s top banking executives, “This is no longer just a housing issue, or a generational issue, or even a financial issue. This is a moral issue.” Waldrip says we are “removing the American dream away from the future generations and young people who live in America right now.”

Listen to the entire podcast on your favorite podcast platform, including SoundCloud, iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play or YouTube.

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