At a special meeting today, the Salt Lake City Council adopted an ordinance enacting a temporary land use regulation to allow a temporary overflow homeless shelter at approximately 2333 West North Temple.
The need to care for people who are unsheltered in freezing temperatures required additional winter shelter. The decision to allow another shelter in Salt Lake City, and particularly on the City’s westside, was tough to make but necessary given the lack of other options. This would become the second winter overflow shelter.
Beds at the Homeless Resource Centers and hotel vouchers are the first options being offered to people experiencing homelessness. But as the temperatures drop and homeless encampments grow, overflow facilities are clearly needed.
City leaders commend the other municipalities who have helped to shoulder the burden of the statewide problems faced by individuals without shelter by hosting homeless shelters and services. Even with the level of partnerships that exist among the cities, the counties, philanthropic and church organizations, the providers of service and the State of Utah, the resources to address the needs of people without shelter far outstrip the resources available and the space available.
The two winter overflow shelter options presented to Salt Lake City when it became apparent that other cities were not willing to host a winter overflow shelter were both on the west side of Salt Lake City. The western area of Salt Lake City has a higher concentration of poverty than many areas of the state.
At today’s meeting, there was deep concern expressed by Council Members about the City again hosting another homeless shelter, particularly on the westside.
Council Members also expressed a need for a more efficient system statewide, and a more equitable system to address the needs of Utahns facing homelessness – those in need of food, clothing and shelter — as well as those in need of mental health services, physical health care and treatment for substance abuse.
* A press release from the Salt Lake Valley Coalition to End Homelessness can be read here.
* Here is a link to the Council Meeting.
* Here is a link to the Mayor’s statement.
Special meetings are meetings held outside of the Council’s regular schedule. Limited meetings do not include a general comment period.
Visit the Council’s agenda page for meeting documents and video or view an archive of prior meeting recaps.