Today, Mayor Jackie Biskupski recommended specific, short-term mitigation projects for the Rio Grande neighborhood to the Salt Lake City Council for consideration. The suggested project funding comes from a budget savings of $380,000 and will be allocated toward six specific short-term projects to address immediate challenges in the neighborhood.
The extra funding is a result of savings found after positions for additional police social workers to assist the homeless were not filled during the current budget year. The budget year ends June 30, 2016.
“These recommended projects will provide some short-term relief to individuals experiencing homelessness, while we continue to move forward with our longer-term plans to provide homeless services,” Mayor Biskupski said. “There was a desire from both my administration and the City Council to keep this surplus funding targeted to the Rio Grande neighborhood and focused on helping those in need.”
The Mayor developed the recommendations with input from the Department of Community and Neighborhood Development, the Salt Lake City Police Department, and the Mayor’s Office of Community Engagement & Empowerment.
With City Council approval, the funding would be applied to the following six areas:
Increased police officer foot patrol in the Rio Grande neighborhood
The goal is to interrupt criminal activity such as drug dealing and drug use and to engage and educate those experiencing homelessness about the Community Connections Center and services available through the Salt Lake City Police Department’s social worker program.
Pilot project with Salt Lake County Behavioral Health Services
Funding to provide immediate access to behavioral health assessments and treatment through the Community Connections Center. The Mayor’s Office has initiated dialogue with Salt Lake County Behavioral Health to develop this pilot project.
500 West mitigation
For developing strategies to productively disburse the population that gathers on the 500 West median near the Road Home.
Increase capacity for “A Place for Your Stuff”
Currently, the 315 bins for homeless individuals to store belongings while they access services are all in use. Extra funding would significantly expand capacity.
Enhanced day services
Funding would be used to fence off a playground at the Road Home, allowing individuals to use the space while the shelter is being cleaned instead of lining up outside.
A longer-term plan for addressing homeless services is also underway in Salt Lake City.
Residents are invited to three remaining public workshops to help prioritize criteria for two new homeless resource centers to be located in the city. The workshops provide an opportunity for residents to learn more about people experiencing homelessness, and to discuss how a new model for homeless services can be incorporated into the community.
Yesterday evening more than 65 residents participated in the first public workshop at Sorenson Unity Center. Earlier in the day, the city also hosted a workshop for people experiencing homelessness at St. Vincent De Paul Dining Center.
The remaining workshops run from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the following locations:
Wednesday, June 15: The Leonardo, 209 East 500 South
Thursday, June 16: Dilworth Elementary, 1953 South 2100 East
Monday, June 20: Marmalade Library, 280 West 500 North
For more information visit: www.slcmayor.com/homeless-services