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Old motel transforms into transitional housing for low-income residents in Salt Lake City

SALT LAKE CITY – With limited affordable housing options available in Salt Lake City, leaders are using old motels to address the crisis.

The old Capitol Motel on State Street near 1700 South is undergoing a major face lift and changing lives at the same time.

On March 1 the new owner, the Housing Authority of Salt Lake City, opened 39 apartment units for people who can’t afford to pay a lot of rent.

“It’s $300-$400 month. We are face-lifting these units. We’re just getting started,” said Daniel Nackerman, executive director of Housing Authority Salt Lake City.

Tenants can stay up to a year.

“People might be on probation or parole and this is a fine place for that; we tell the other neighbors,” Nackerman said.

If applicants are on the sex offender registry for life or were convicted of making meth, they will not be accepted.

“There’s no nonsense here," Nackerman said. "We expect people to stay away from drugs and alcohol and violence."

One of the first tenants, Marilyn Titus, spoke with Fox 13.

“I was homeless for six months," Titus said.

The old Capitol Motel is a refuge for Titus, who lost her home after she couldn’t afford rent.

“Being homeless and staying downtown was rather scary. Now I have a roof over my head. I can afford the rent and it makes me feel so happy and grateful.”

Transitional housing is just the first step. Property owners are making room for mixed-income apartments and commercial space, set to open in 2020.

“This was spawned from the mayor’s Blue Ribbon committee,” Nackerman said. “The crime and things that happen from a motel go away. Ultimately, there’s revitalization of the neighborhood and people become more part of the neighborhood so it’s really a win.”

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