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APA Utah News & Events

Homeless to Housed Fall 2019

December 19, 2019 by admin
Housing, Urban Planning

On October 30, 2019 Lt. Governor Spencer Cox announced the State of Utah, Salt Lake County and Salt Lake City efforts to transition from the long-time downtown Salt Lake City homeless shelter. The South Salt Lake Homeless Resource Center (HRC) had been granted the occupancy permits and this started the countdown of 30 days until closure of The Road Home’s operations at the old Traveler’s Aid building. The moving of men from downtown to the 1000 West 3300 South HRC location would need to be completed before Thanksgiving.

The closure of the downtown shelter was an important step of fully implementing the scattered site homeless service model in three separate HRCs in Salt Lake County. The new HRCs were specially designed and constructed facilities for not only shelter, but a place for guests to eat, do laundry, receive services and referrals toward exiting homelessness. The concerns since the announcement from the Lt. Governor have been around the limited capacity of the three HRCs.

The State Department of Workforce Services, Salt Lake County, Salt Lake City and numerous community partners identified a plan to match individuals who had been long term (200 + days in previous year) shelter stayers with available housing. The plan identified those who were already qualified to utilize Section 8 vouchers, Veteran’s Administration Funds, and other funding made available by the State to move into their own apartment. The housing campaign included a call for property owners and landlords who had vacant housing units to contact Housing Connect (formerly named the Salt Lake County Housing Authority) so that those units could be matched with people needing the homes.

This focused effort resulted in a galvanized process that will house forty previously long term shelter stayers before the end of 2019. This focus will continue to support case managers, housing locator specialists, and community partners who offer mental health and substance abuse services into the coming year. The importance of coordinating the work from street outreach, to appropriate HRC or detoxification programs, job skills and education is apparent as the community partners implement rapid re-housing principles. This is not the end of the story, as the neighborhoods receiving the HRCs work with the operators, Volunteers of America (Geraldine King Center for Women), Catholic Community Services (Gail Miller Mens and Womens Center) and The Road Home (South Salt Lake Center) the dedication is clear, whatever the reason someone is experiencing homelessness–they need to have a path to be housed.

For more information about homelessness here are a few resources:

Lani Eggertsen-Goff, Director of Housing & Neighborhood Development, Salt Lake City