State officials announce changes to homeless plan, different shelter locations

(KUTV) State officials and Salt Lake County and City mayors gathered at the State Capitol Friday to announce the next steps and changes in their homeless plan.

In the press conference, Salt Lake City mayor Jackie Biskupski announced plans for homeless shelters at 700 S. and 1400 S. will move forward, while another homeless resource center will be constructed outside of Salt Lake.

Officials say the location for the third location will be announce by the end of March, with Murray under consideration for the third location.

Plans for two other centers, one at 653 East Simpson Avenue in Sugarhouse, and another at 648 West 100 South will not move forward.

One of Salt Lake City's planned resource centers will be dedicated to single women, while the other Iocation will be dedicated to single men and women. Biskupski says the centers will hold 200 beds each, with the three shelters totaling 600 beds. Old plans were only expected to provide 550 beds total. According to Biskupski, the initiative is meant to move individuals from homelessness "to housing and independence again."

Lawmakers have given Salt Lake City's Rio Grande homeless shelter a hard close date of June 30, 2019. Sen. Wayne Niederhauser cited the location and violent and in terrible conditions.

According to Biskupski, the new homeless resource center initiative is meant to move individuals from homelessness "to housing and independence again." Biskupski called the effort "a historic moment in our state."

"We will be ready on day one when the doors to these new homeless resource centers open," McAdams said.

McAdams said that the selection of the final homeless resource center location will be chosen with recommendations from stakeholders in the community.

Speaker of the House Greg Hughes called the previous selection model for homeless resource center locations "a good system." Many were angered by the announcement of the four original homeless resource center locations, citing concerns over the impact to families, homes and businesses. Others were angered by lack of public discussion or approval of the locations.

2News spoke with Sugarhouse resident Chris Sveiven in December after the announcement that a homeless resource center would be constructed near his home.

"I have driven by the homeless shelters and it seems out of control. To have them one a block from your house is not something you want to hear," Sveiven said.

A business owner near one of the four locations expressed concerns she would lose her retirement and life savings.

In October 2016, city council members earmarked $11.8 million for new shelters alone.

Speakers at the conference included:

  • Speaker of the House Greg Hughes
  • Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams
  • Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski
  • President of the Senate Wayne Niederhauser
  • Lt. Governor Spencer J. Cox
  • Jonathan Hardy of the Department of Workforce Services

The press conference was held at 11 a.m. Feb. 24 at the Utah State Capitol.

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