SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Jan. 13, 2021 (Gepahrdt Daily) — Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have announced $3.3 million in donations as part of their ongoing efforts to help provide shelter as well as other financial and in-kind support for Utah’s homeless population.
Five organizations in the state have received funding from the church to help provide shelter for the homeless in 2021, said a news release.
Those nonprofit organizations receiving funding for programs to support the homeless include The Road Home, Shelter the Homeless, Friends of the Coalition, Switchpoint and Utah Community Action.
“We reach out to all of God’s children without exception,” said Bishop W. Christopher Waddell, first counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, who helps oversee the temporal needs of the global church. “As a church, one of our priorities is caring for those in need, and we can’t do it on our own.”
Waddell and Elder William K. Jackson of the Seventy participated in a virtual meeting with the executive directors of the partner organizations on Friday, Jan. 8 to discuss their efforts to end homelessness in Utah, the news release said.
Waddell said the donations, provided by Latter-day Saint Charities, are primarily provided by Latter-day Saints from around the world.
Salt Lake City
The church will continue its support of The Road Home in Salt Lake City in 2021, which provides shelter and other services for more than 1,700 people who are homeless a year. Latter-day Saints have supported this community resource for more than a decade, the news release said.
“Our goal is to reduce the time that anybody has to spend homeless,” said Michelle Flynn, executive director of The Road Home. “Whether it’s out on the streets or in one of our homeless resource center facilities, we know that every single day that a child spends in our shelter impacts them negatively, and we want to help them get back into their own home as quickly as possible.”
The donation to Shelter the Homeless will help fund transportation services and provide security for a winter overflow shelter in Salt Lake County.
“This donation will aid us with winter temporary housing efforts to provide the unsheltered a warm bed and will also fund ongoing operations of the homeless resource centers, specifically to ensure the health, safety, and security of the staff, guests, and the surrounding community,” said Laurie G. Hopkins, executive director of Shelter the Homeless. “We are grateful for this partnership in serving the most vulnerable in our community.”
The church has also partnered with Utah Community Action to assist low-income families with rent to keep them in affordable housing.
As the homeless population grows in Utah County, Provo-based Friends of the Coalition plans to build 72 one-bedroom units on its existing site to provide permanent supportive housing. Financial support from the church, combined with the contributions from other donors, will provide the funds needed for the project.
“This project that the church is helping us fund will be self-sustaining,” said Brent S. Crane, president and CEO of the Food and Care Coalition, the operational entity of Friends of the Coalition. “We will not require outside funding in the future for this particular part of our programming.”
Tooele and St. George
Switchpoint will use the church’s contribution to help construct a 150-unit homeless resource center in Tooele and add a child care facility to its St. George campus.
Carol Hollowell, executive director of the Switchpoint Community Resource Center in St. George, said many of the working poor in the area had their hours cut or lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, with no place to take their children. Many of those workers are employed in the tourism industry.
“That’s why we’re building the 24/7 child care center so that these working families can have a safe, affordable spot for their children to be,” she said.