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Salt Lake County Regional Development News

What is AMI? And Why You Need to Know It

September 14, 2021

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Salt Lake County receives multiple grants per year that fund programs like Lead-Safe Housing, Green and Healthy Homes, and pandemic Emergency Rental Assistance.

Every year the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) releases income guidelines that affect which residents in Salt Lake County qualify for all kinds of program services. 

It is common that free (or reduced rate services) can only be for Salt Lake County residents that earn wages at or below the area’s average median income by a certain percentage, which can get confusing. 

Why is it important for you to know?

Area Median Income or AMI can determine what kinds of services you or your family can receive if you need assistance. For Fiscal Year 2021, the median family income in Salt Lake County is estimated to be $92,900, based off U.S. Census data. 

The table below shows three tiers of income limits set by HUD for Salt Lake County residents, depending on how many people are in your house. They are grouped by:

  • Extremely Low: Family income is 30% or below of Salt Lake County’s median family income or federal poverty guidelines.

  • Very Low: Family income is 50% or below of Salt Lake County’s median family income.

  • Low: Family income is 80% or below Salt Lake County’s median family income.

Calculate your Income Category

Your family’s size is important to calculating and understanding your income limits.

Income Limit Category Persons in Family
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Very Low (50%) Income Limits ($) 32,300 36,900 41,500 46,100 49,800 53,500 57,200 60,900
Extremely Low Income Limits ($)* 19,400 22,150 24,900 27,650 31,040 35,580 40,120 44,660
Low (80%) Income Limits ($) 51,650 59,000 66,400 73,750 79,650 85,550 91,450 97,350

Know where your household’s income guidelines stand and contact 2-1-1 for resources if you could use help getting groceries, rental assistance, childcare, and more.

Salt Lake County Programs you may be eligible for:

Kersten Swinyard Joins Salt Lake County as Senior Economic Development Manager

September 02, 2021

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WELCOME KERSTEN SWINYARD Salt Lake County's new Senior Economic Development Manager SALT LAKE

As Salt Lake County's Economic Development Team innovates and adapts to changing and prioritized needs of the valley, we're excited to bring Kersten Swinyard aboard as our new Senior Economic Development Manager. 

Kersten will manage Salt Lake County's Development Finance Portfolio, working with cities to put together place-based projects that boost the region's economic competitiveness and remediate blight or environmental contamination through tax increment financing (TIF) projects and EPA Brownfields funds.

"Development can bring jobs to a community, provide housing, improve infrastructure, and spur secondary investment to improve a community holistically," Kersten said. "I'm excited to work on all of this in my home County." 

She comes to the County with a background in commercial real estate, where she worked primarily with retailers and retail landlords. Her work in CRE ranged from finding the first shop space for start-up boutiques to crafting the ideal tenant mix for national landlords to activate a major development. She also worked with preferred developers on site identification and negotiation and is a member of the Utah Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) chapter.

Kersten brings her understanding of current business and development practices to partnering redevelopment agencies, real estate developers, and other stakeholders working to elevate Salt Lake County's places to their potential. 

She obtained a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Utah and a master's degree from New York University in journalism. Some of her earliest experience with TIF projects dates back to early in her career when she covered municipalities and RDAs for local media.

She lives in Salt Lake City with her husband, daughter, and their overweight corgi Rosie.

Reach out to Kersten by email at or call 385-468-4869.

How clean is indoor air, really? Salt Lake County, University of Utah Health studying air quality inside and outside families’ homes

August 31, 2021

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Indoor Air Quality Monitors 1 - web.jpg

When the air outside is visibly thick with a brown and yellow haze of pollutants, Salt Lake County families retreat indoors, where it is arguably safer to breathe. But, what if it’s not?

University of Utah Health and Salt Lake County kicked off a new scientific study of local indoor and outdoor air quality, which aims to better understand the status of air quality in at-risk families’ homes across the valley, from the summer’s smoke and heat to the winter’s inversions.

“It is critical to not only improve the air we breathe outside but understand and improve the air the most vulnerable among us breathe inside their homes as well if we are going to protect the safety of residents and ensure a healthier future,” Mayor Jenny Wilson said.

The study will involve tracking indoor and outdoor air quality in Salt Lake County through the end of 2021 and into early 2022, after which the results will be analyzed and shared with the public.

“There is a common misconception that indoor air quality is vastly different from outdoor air quality and always better,” said Dr. Daniel Mendoza, CEO of AQUEHS Corp, who is one of the study’s experts collecting data. “Unfortunately, activities, such as cooking and vacuuming, can make indoor air quality worse than outdoors. Very small particles, such as from the wildfires we are currently experiencing, are able to work their way in a home through any small cracks and openings.”

Ozone Air MonitorMendoza and Scott Collingwood, PhD and University of Utah Health assistant professor of pediatrics, are placing multiple instruments in the homes of 10 Salt Lake County families that have agreed to participate in the study and are also part of Salt Lake County’s free Green and Healthy Homes Program. Monitors will capture PM2.5 and ozone. Radon, the second leading cause of lung cancer, is also being monitored in the study.

“This project will be the first opportunity to have an objective analysis of air quality in the homes participating in the County’s Green and Healthy Homes Initiative, where we get high resolution measurements both before and after the program’s interventions and updates,” Collingwood said. “Future work can expand on the project to evaluate any health care improvements, cost reductions and quality of life improvements like reducing lost work and school days.”

Early Data

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Early data gathered from the study shows a large spike in PM2.5 in the middle of August 6, when Salt Lake County first experienced the California wildfire plume. During the initial event, the air quality inside the residence was above red for a couple of hours and above orange for almost two days (PM2.5).

However, other measurements show a noticeable decrease in ozone gas during that same time period since the sun was so obscured that it could not be generated. As expected, ozone is relatively low inside at all times.

FULL_SERIES_Ozone - web.png

Effects of Poor Air Quality

Pollutants found indoors, including small particles and gases, can cause shortness of breath, chest tightening, wheezing, coughing, and chest pain. Following initial data collection, personalized intervention will be taken through the Salt Lake County Green and Healthy Homes Program, after which additional measurements will be taken at homes to assess levels of improved air quality.

“This is part of our overall effort to help anyone affected by poor indoor air quality,” said John Russell, a Salt Lake County Housing Program Manager. “There’s a way to make your home healthier. We’ve been doing this work for decades in Salt Lake County, but we’ve never had the air quality measurements we’re getting now. We know the Healthy Homes interventions have an impact, and this will give us an objective measurement.”

Residents can take small steps to improve their indoor air quality and personal health without having to purchase an expensive air filtration unit by testing for radon; washing bedding in addition to dusting and vacuuming regularly; cleaning mold and fixing water leaks; and cleaning without harsh chemicals. To learn more about Green & Healthy Homes, as well as how to reduce health triggers in your home, visit

How Much are 2021 Rent Trends in Salt Lake County Accelerating?

August 30, 2021

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SLCo Rent Changes 2YOY.png

Data released by Apartment List and analyzed and visualized by Salt Lake County's Office of Data & Innovation illustrates steep changes in rent costs in Salt Lake County in 2021 when compared to previous years.

The graph above shows rent changes from 2019 to 2021 in both percent change and median percent change compared to other counties of a similar size. Since January 2021, Salt Lake County has seen a more than 10% change.

An Accelerating Median Price

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This chart illustrates the accelerating median price of rent in Salt Lake County, hovering around $1,100 in early 2017 to $1,450 in July 2021. 

Overall Rent Changes 2 Year-Over-Year

Overall Rent Changes.png

This graph gathers rent data from Utah's five most populous counties and compares 2 year-over-year percent changes in rent, beginning in January 2019 to July 2021. 

Salt Lake County, illustrated in lime green, experienced a dip from April 2020 until January 2021, when changes made a steep upward turn amounting to about an 11% increase in just six months. 

The Takeaways

  1. Rents are indeed accelerating substantially in 2021.
  2. Salt Lake County rates seem to be typical among the most major counties in Utah. While we saw a small "major city" COVID-19 rent dip, it never turned negative.
  3. Salt Lake County rent trends are like those of similar-size counties since 2020, however on a slightly more aggressive level. 

Apartment List named five reasons, based on its data, behind rising rental prices across the nation in an Aug. 24 article. They are: 

  1. There are more households competing for homes than ever before
  2. Homeownership is becoming prohibitively expensive
  3. Search data suggest many renters are actively looking for a new home right now
  4. Apartment hunters are searching with increased urgency
  5. Apartment vacancy rates are historically low

Need Help? Get Rental Assistance

If you or someone you know is impacted by rising costs and having a difficult time paying rent right now due to the pandemic, please apply for free rental assistance at

Rental assistance is open to all residents who make below a combined income of $51,650 if you're a household of one; $59,000 for two people; $66,400 for three people; $73,750 for four people in Salt Lake County. If you have a household with more than four people, visit this page to view income guidelines for homes with five or more individuals.

Rental assistance can be used for:

  • Current rent plus 3 months of prospective rent (with a termed lease)
  • Past-due rent
  • Eligible fees
  • Security deposit
  • Utilities, internet and home energy costs

Data from Apartment List is gathered based on its listings and older census data to trend forward.