SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Jan. 16, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — Salt Lake City leaders announced a new temporary homeless shelter with 145 beds in Sugar House Thursday afternoon.
A press conference featuring Mayor Erin Mendenhall and members of the City Council was held at 5 p.m. on the east steps of the City and County Building.
Mendenhall said: “Every single person who seeks shelter during the winter months should have access to a safe, warm place to sleep and an ability to connect with services. This is a fundamental human right. I have heard from our city’s residents, housed and unhoused, philanthropists and business owners, service providers and city employees, who share in this strong belief. For weeks my team and I have been working on options in coordination with our City Council, City staff and service providers, Salt Lake County leadership and our state partners, for temporary overflow shelter.
“Today on day 11 of my administration, I am proud to announce that we have a plan, and within the next week we will be expanding the number of beds available to our unsheltered neighbors.”
Mendenall said 145 new beds would be available at the Sugar House Temporary Shelter, a temporary overnight shelter in a vacant building at old Deseret Industries building at 2234 S. Highland Drive, which is owned by the Salt Lake City redevelopment agency. She also announced the Weigand Center at 235 S. Rio Grande will continue to function as a day shelter and the central hub for homeless services, but will no longer function as an overnight warming center.
“Instead, transportation will be provided to the Sugar House Temporary Shelter from the Weigand Center in the evening and return back to the Weigand Center in the morning to connect with services, making the Sugar House Temporary Shelter available only overnight,” Mendenhall said. “The Sugar House Temporary Shelter is a provision for this winter only, through April 15, 2020, just as St. Vincent’s is, as we work will all providers and stakeholders to plan for the growing needs of permanent housing and supportive solutions for our unsheltered population.”
Mendenhall added: “Our homeless resource centers are working, and people are taking advantage of their services to the highest degree. But our ability to truly serve the unsheltered population relies on our ability to be agile, and to work dynamically to serve evolving issues, emerging issues. We commend all of our partners for doing just that.”
She said she is confident the community of Sugar House will welcome the new addition “with compassion and with understanding.”
Mendenhall then thanked the City’s community partners for working together on the new undertaking.
She added: “If you can, please take action by donating to HomelessUtah.org.”
The council member for District 7, Amy Fowler, then spoke.
“I have seen the faith of our residents in making sure that every person that we possibly can will have a warm, safe place to sleep during these winter months,” Fowler said. “I reached out to a lot of my constituents and people within the neighborhood, and I asked, what would you do for our unsheltered? And every single person that responded said, we have to find a place, to make sure there are beds for someone to be warm and safe and get a good night’s rest, and we did that. We were lucky enough to have a building that is operable for people to come and stay the night.”
She added: “We owe it to our community members to help them get rest, to help them feel safe and warm during these winter months. I am proud to be a Salt Lake City resident and I am proud to live in Sugar House for the actions that this community is taking to protect all of our communities.”
For more information on the new temporary shelter, click here.