South Salt Lake Mayor on SLC homeless shelter site: 'We were not part of the conversation'
(KUTV) South Salt Lake City's mayor says the city was not part of the conversation to be one of five proposed sites for a future homeless shelter and feel the decision was rushed.
On Friday, Salt Lake County announced five proposed locations in the Salt Lake Valley to be added to the two existing future homeless shelter sites for Salt Lake City. Two of the five sites are located in South Salt Lake, the rest are in West Valley City.
"I will fight it ... South Salt Lake doesn't meet the criteria," Mayor Cherie Wood said while standing in front of the South Salt Lake City Council on Monday. "I don't think we are asking them to never make a selection, I think we are asking them to be a part of the conversation."
Wood, the city council and members of South Salt Lake Police and Fire departments and local schools laid out several reasons why the proposed homeless resource center did not meet the mandatory selection criteria.
The announcement comes after Salt Lake City and council officials revealed they would build three new homeless shelters, instead of the originally proposed four.
South Salt Lake Police spokesperson Gary Keller said his department gladly take on any challenge, but having a homeless resource center in the city would create a new law enforcement issue and bring on an "insurmountable task."
"This is just going to be a great challenge for our law enforcement to provide services and make it safe,:" Keller said on Monday. "Not only for the homeless people but the residents and the current population that we have."
Wood believes the residents can make a difference and should make their voices heard. The city has set up a website with an online petition to discourage Salt Lake County from putting a center in its city.
Wood told the media gathered outside the parking lot of Woodrow Wilson Elementary School at 2567 S. Main Street that she wishes South Salt Lake would have had a seat at the table and been involved in the proposed site process.
"I can speak to the lack of communication or information we have been given as a community on this new process," Wood said adding that she got a phone call "a phone call right before the press release (went out) on Friday."
The Site Selection Committee criteria includes: proximity to transit; proximity to grocery stores and employment opportunities; and fit with the existing environment.
Wood said the community is invited to sign an online petition to oppose South Salt Lake as a proposed site for the remaining homeless center site to be chosen by Salt Lake County.
- 1820 West Printers Row (2300 South)
- 2411 South Winston Street (1070 West)
- 2249 South Winston Street (1070 West)
- 3091 South Main Street
- 1144 West 3300 South