Press Release: Next steps for addressing Utah homeless crisis announced

Press Release
For Immediate Release
February 24, 2017

Contact:
Aundrea Peterson
Majority Director of Communications
Utah House of Representatives
aundreapeterson@le.utah.gov

Next steps for addressing Utah homeless crisis announced

SALT LAKE CITY – Today, Speaker of the House, state leadership and the mayors of Salt Lake County and City announced the next steps to address the homelessness crisis in Utah. The plan includes a new direction of the shelter model that breaks up the one-size-fits-all model into three resource centers— two in Salt Lake City and one located outside the city but in Salt Lake County.

“This proposal will allow us to move forward in our efforts to better serve those experiencing homelessness in Utah and relieves some of the pressure on Salt Lake City in providing those services. While the location and size of resource centers are changing slightly, what remains the same is the unprecedented level of cooperation and dedication among City, County, and State leaders in working with service providers to compassionately address this issue,” said Mayor Jackie Biskupski.

“At the state’s request, we will provide options for locating a homeless resource center outside of Salt Lake City. We believe the framework of this plan as outlined today will make it possible to reach our Collective Impact goal of minimizing homelessness, enhancing public safety, meeting the needs of those in crisis and helping them return to stable and independent lives,” said Mayor Ben McAdams.

Next steps include:

  • Improvements in coordinating resources across the housing and homelessness delivery system.
  • Two facilities in Salt Lake City. Each facility will serve up to 200 individuals.
  • One facility to be located outside of Salt Lake City is scheduled to be selected by March 30, 2017.
  • The current downtown shelter is anticipated to close by June 30, 2019.

A new bill sponsored by Rep. Francis Gibson will be presented to finalize funding for the new centers, which will utilize the process created under H.B. 436 Housing and Homelessness Reform Initiative from 2016. Under the direction of the State Homeless Coordinating Committee, the Department of Workforce Services will continue to work closely with the County and City to ensure funds are used as directed by the legislation and the approved plan.

“As I mentioned in my opening day remarks at the start of this session I’m drawing a line in the sand.  Homelessness and the criminal element that is preying on the most vulnerable amongst us is a statewide issue. One city, one county and the state alone can’t take this on by itself. We’ve come together in a collaborative effort, we’ve listened to concerns, and we’ve come up with a unified plan to reform this issue and address this crisis. It hasn’t been easy, and we are just getting started, but together we are committed to make this right and reform the way we address this crisis,” said Speaker Greg Hughes.

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NOTES:

  1. The homelessness proposal can be found here: http://www.utahreps.net/press/homelessness-proposal