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Supporters and housing agency representatives gathered Tuesday to officially open the 9th East Lofts at Bennion Plaza. The six-story project at 444 So. 900 East will add 68 affordable units to Salt Lake City's housing stock.

Mayor Jackie Biskupski tearfully thanked those that contributed to the project and touched on the importance of affordable housing.

"As mayor I have had the privilege to stand in nearly every corner of this city to celebrate the beginning and completion of new affordable housing projects," she said.

"This is a critical issue in our city and people need to understand the level of cooperation required to realize a project like this," she said. "The heart of this plan is collaboration and cooperation."

Suzanne Boshard, a Salt Lake City resident for over 50 years, recently signed a contract to live in the Bennion Plaza and plans to move in soon.

Boshard said over the past several years she has become physically disabled due to health issues and can no longer afford to live in nearby neighborhoods. Upon hearing about the building construction she followed up on the qualifications and deadlines to sign up for a contract.

"I'm grateful for this particular building because it's a tax credit building and we need more of that. I like the idea of tax credit because it integrates people instead of segregating people like a whole neighborhood of low-income housing," she said.

Palmer DePaulis, chairman of the Housing Authority of Salt Lake City board of commissioners, was among speakers present at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

"Having all these people here is sort of a signal that will help us understand where this whole thing is going. They see this particular project, it will be a visualization of what the mayor intends to have in our city for affordable housing," DePaulis said.

DePaulis, a former capital city mayor, said that out of 68 units available, 54 will go for no more than 60 percent of the area median income, with rents of between $296-$764 a month. Twenty-two will accommodate special-needs residents.

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