FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nov. 1, 2019
Salt Lake City Council Members have listened, with growing concern, to ongoing conversations about providing safe housing and shelter for people experiencing homelessness. The situation has intensified with record low temperatures threatening those whose only home is on the streets.
The existing Rio Grande shelter that has provided beds for years is still open for the coming weeks. This is a necessary short-term option that has long been identified as part of the transition plan. However, what happens if the closure date comes and solutions have not worked?
As the State, County, and Salt Lake City Mayor’s office presented Wednesday, plans and funding are focused on creating more housing options. The plans sound promising – it is our understanding they will make money available for unit improvements, deposits, and other rental payments. Making more units available statewide for people experiencing homelessness is the ultimate goal, both immediately while freezing temperatures threaten, and long term so that people can move into safe and stable housing for good.
The Council recognizes the importance of this issue and has made City resources available through our previous budget actions. Also, recognizing additional effort & coordination is required, we recently scheduled a fact-finding session on November 12th. At that meeting, we will ask for an update from stakeholders on the new State funding, progress for creating new housing, alternate plans if the shelter closes and there is still not enough housing / shelter available, and interactions with continuing homeless encampments.
We want to emphasize that we are facing a statewide issue that isn’t exclusive to Salt Lake City. Salt Lake City has been at the forefront of providing services for our residents and others who have come from throughout our state who are experiencing homelessness. This is our call to cities in Utah to join us in this massive effort and make resources and additional housing available for those less fortunate neighbors who are experiencing homelessness in each of your communities.
Dan Weist, Director of Communications