Salt Lake City has often risen above and beyond our role and our resources to make sure everyone has the option of a warm, safe place to sleep, but let’s be clear: it is not Salt Lake City’s role to address the statewide problem of too few shelter beds.
For the second winter in a row, our City has had to help fill gaps in the homeless services system. The system of determining sufficient winter shelter as it currently stands is dysfunctional and a disservice to the service providers, residents and businesses in the area, and most of all, to individuals experiencing homelessness.
I empathize with the Salt Lake Valley Coalition to End Homelessness, which has been given the charge by the state legislature to secure winter shelter without the staffing, funding, or authority to actually do so. It’s an untenable situation that is set up to fail. We must do better. All of our government partners must be willing to do their part.
I applaud the city of Millcreek for supporting the 60-bed temporary transitional housing that opened this week. I commend our Salt Lake City Council for acting quickly to respond to the Coalition’s request for necessary, formal action to allow a shelter with twice as many beds in our city. I look to the other cities in Salt Lake County and beyond to become active participants in this conversation. Salt Lake City knows it’s hard, it’s unpopular, and it stretches already overstretched resources, but ensuring people have access to shelter is the right thing to do.
###Tags: city of Millcreek, Salt Lake County, Salt Lake Valley Coalition to End Homelessness, shelter, Temporary Winter Housing