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Salt Lake County Regional Development News

Salt Lake County Regional Planning & Transportation Welcomes Toby Lowry as New GIS Analyst


December 11, 2020

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Salt Lake County Regional Development’s Award-Winning Planning & Transportation department welcomed a new GIS Analyst, Toby Lowry, this week.

A Utah native, Toby graduated from the University of Utah in 2019 with a degree in Urban Ecology – planning with a focus on the environment. His interest in equity and the possibility of creating opportunities for more people and improve lives at the same time was a significant motivator for his career path.

“I’m excited to work for an organization focused on improving situations for people and the environment, and that’s true for the Office of Regional Development and Planning & Transportation. Their goals are in line with my goals – to help people,” Toby said.

As a Transportation Planner and GIS Analyst, Toby will create maps and enable clear communication of different projects as they develop across the county. His goal is to make maps and documents for projects that are easy to read and understand so residents understand future Salt Lake County plans and maps. 

“I like that it requires collaboration from a lot of different people and different organizations,” Toby said. “At Salt Lake County we work with different cities in the County and organizations like UTA and UDOT. That kind of collaboration is exciting; it requires problems in planning consult with a variety of perspectives to find solutions that work best for the most people.”

Toby joins the County from Colliers International, where he worked as a GIS Analyst to collect geospatial data to inform brokers and clients to make informed decisions, as well as creating different kinds of maps and materials to provide easily digestible material.

Toby takes on the position most recently held by Jared Stewart.

When he’s not assisting with planning and analyzing map data, Toby enjoys doing all kinds of outdoor activities, from hiking to Lake Blanche to camping and is talented in woodworking and has a soft spot for brownies.

To connect with Toby, he can be reached at tlowry@slco.org or by phone at 385-468-4872.


What Do Eviction Moratoriums Mean for Salt Lake County Renters?


December 04, 2020

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What if I'm a renter in Salt Lake County that is having a hard time paying rent because COVID-19 has impacted my health or job?

During the pandemic, various state and federal eviction moratoriums have tried to prevent landlords from evicting families -- if their contracts haven't expired. They've kept individuals safe in their homes and off the streets during the pandemic.

But it doesn't erase paying rent.

What is an eviction moratorium?

In March, a federal moratorium on evictions from March 25-July 25, 2020 was signed due to the pandemic affecting a lot of jobs, education, and health. Utah also made a state moratorium on evictions in March through May 15.

That meant property managers and landlords couldn't easily evict residents from their housing for non-payment, if they made certain efforts.

Come the end of July, it was clear the pandemic was not ending and help would need to be extended, and on Sept. 1, the CDC issued a new nationwide eviction moratorium that is scheduled to end on Dec. 31, 2020, unless extended, to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

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An eviction moratorium doesn't mean that rent is forgiven.

In fact, an eviction moratorium just delays when a landlord can evict a resident for non-payment. When the current moratorium ends at the year's close, rent will be due -- in full. 

What If I Can't Pay Rent?

To be covered by the current eviction moratorium, you have to:

  • Have made efforts to get rental assistance from the government or other entities
  • You lost income from being laid off, furloughed, or reduced hours 
  • You've tried to make partial payments the best you can
  • Prove that if you were evicted you'd become homeless or have to move in with someone else
  • Show you're earning less than $99,000 in 2020

Then, you need to give your landlord a signed declaration (which you can find here). 

This FAQ for Renters by the National Low Income Housing Coalition might be helpful in answering more questions.

Where Can I Find Help?

  1. Due to high need, there are limited funds remaining in Utah to help residents with rental assistance. You may be able to access rental assistance funds through Utah Community Action, by calling 801-359-2444. You can also visit http://utahca.org.
  2. For Salt Lake City residents needing mortgage assistance, funding may be available through Community Development Corporation of Utah (https://www.cdcutah.org/covid-assistance or call 801-994-7222) and Neighborhood Works Salt Lake (https://nwsaltlake.org/).
  3. Residents can also call 2-1-1 where are variety of resources can be identified for your situation, including low-income housing assistance, or visit https://211utah.org.
  4. Access resources through SAMi, a SLCo app where you can find information. Register for an account here.

What is Salt Lake County Doing?

Salt Lake County has been funding housing stability efforts before the pandemic. Before receiving CARES Act funding, Salt Lake County committed more than half a million dollars in rental assistance in April. In November, Salt Lake County dedicated another $1.5 million dollars toward rental assistance to bridge a gap in funding from the state and federal government through the end of the year. And in December, Salt Lake County is set to commit $3.6 million dollars more for housing stability into 2021-22.


Q&A with Salt Lake County's New Economic Development Director Jevon Gibb


November 30, 2020

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Salt Lake County has a new Economic Development Director that joins our efforts on Dec. 1. Jevon Gibb will support economic recovery and long-term economic development opportunities that address continued growth.

Jevon comes to Salt Lake County from Hartford, Connecticut where he most recently served as Director of Research and Economic Development for MetroHartford Alliance. His educational background includes a BA in International Relations and Juris Doctor from University of Texas; an MBA from Tulane University; and an MPA from Harvard University.

"The thing I'm really passionate about is economic opportunity -- a lot of that comes from my family background," Jevon said. "The year I was born, our family farm in Northeast Texas went bankrupt and my family spent 18 years rebuilding a business. When I work now, I think about my mom sitting at her black roll-top desk balancing the family checkbook and trying to keep us afloat ... I ask whether my work is creating impact for families and businesses like ours. Am I making a difference? Will this create economic opportunity and help them achieve their potential?”

Jevon is excited for the leadership opportunity and to work with Mayor Jenny Wilson to guide the county's regional economic development strategy. Learn more about Jevon from our digital Q&A with him.

Q: What lead you to economic development in Utah?

A: I started in international development and worked in places like Afghanistan (as part of the U.S. Navy JAG Corps) where I didn't have the success or impact I was hoping for. So, I pivoted to regional economic development, doing research in Boston, and then working in Hartford, Connecticut. I'm so excited to come to Utah, which is a very different story than Hartford, and work on some interesting challenges and opportunities that come with progress and growth.

Q: What excites you about Salt Lake County?

A: The potential for teamwork. Economic development is a team sport. The biggest challenge is communicating with stakeholders and delivering results that work with all of those folks. We won't agree on everything, but we'll agree on more than enough to have effective teamwork.

For Salt Lake County, the biggest challenges seem like creating alignment as we prove that we can maintain both economic growth and quality of life. Growth can come with inconvenient things: traffic, increased housing prices, natural byproducts. How do we mitigate or minimize that? It's an exciting challenge!

Q: What's the one thing you look forward to once you move to Utah?

A: My wife, Kristen, and I love the region and can't wait to get out there. We just got married in September and are excited to build a family in a place that's amazing for families. Outdoors, camping, hiking with our dog Jamie. Hopefully when life becomes more normal, we'll get to dive into the community and immerse ourselves in all the amazing things going on.

Q: We were interested in how you shared some failures as learning opportunities. Which do you think will inform your new role as economic development director?

A: My failed startup and my deployment to Afghanistan. On both, I put a lot of effort into something that lacked clear deliverables and outcomes. With my startup, I spent too much time on features and target audience and didn't get a minimum viable product out quickly enough. In Afghanistan, I felt like we were building sandcastles. Those frustrations drive me forward. At some point, if you’re working with me, you'll hear me say, "What are we trying to achieve? How do we test this? How are we going to figure out if this is a good idea or a pipe dream?" Failures are only bad things if you don't learn from them.

Q: What's one thing partners and staff can share with you to help you hit the ground running?

A: How do I communicate best with you? Email? Call? Once a week? Once a month? Are you a numbers person? Do you prefer real-life examples? I’m a process and results-oriented person, so sometimes it might seem like I’m very serious. I’m just loving my work. I really care about being a good team member, though, so it’s helpful to know how you like to communicate.

Contact Jevon Gibb via email at jmgibb@slco.org.