2017 Utah State Legislative Session February 24, 2017
Over the last two years, stakeholders from all sectors — public, private, and nonprofit — have been working to responsibly address the homelessness crisis we face in our state. Through this work, we have developed a plan to break up the ‘one-size-fits-all’ shelter model and reorient the system to minimize homelessness.
This plan has four primary components:
- A redesigned shelter model that breaks up the one-size-fits-all emergency shelter into four resource centers, tailoring services to population needs. There will be a family resource center in Midvale, two facilities in Salt Lake City capped at 200 beds each, and another resource center located in an area outside Salt Lake City. These resource centers will serve distinct populations of adult women, adult men and a gender-segregated facility serving both adult men and women. Population locations will be determined at a later date. No additional facility for families with children is anticipated at this time, as the intent is to divert and prevent these families from entering homelessness through the alternatives discussed below.
- Alternatives to shelter will continue to be pursued to draw down demand for emergency shelter. Efforts include Salt Lake County’s Pay for Success initiative which targets persistently homeless individuals, more affordable housing, behavioral healthcare treatment facilities, increased diversion, additional e orts to reduce length of stay at a shelter and prevent repeat stays, motel vouchers and other alternatives to meet shelter demand.
- System improvements that more efficiently coordinate resources across the housing and homelessness delivery system, including a coordinated entry and assessment system.
- A public safety and treatment initiative, similar to Operation Diversion launched last fall, to ensure neighborhoods are safe and individuals have access to treatment.
Full funding for the above plan is anticipated to move forward this legislative session.
Utilizing the process created by last year’s HB436 Housing and Homelessness Reform Initiative, funds will be distributed to achieve the above plan. At the request of the state, through a process facilitated by Salt Lake County, stakeholders will identify possible sites for a resource center located in an area outside Salt Lake City for consideration and approval by the State Homeless Coordinating Committee by March 30, 2017. If implemented, the state anticipates being able to responsibly close the downtown emergency shelter by June 30, 2019.