Homeless Shelters


Photo by KOMUnews

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the issue of building multiple homeless shelters throughout Salt Lake County.  Because of protests by the residents of Sugarhouse and Draper, city and government officials have agreed to change the location and number of homeless shelters being built.  

The number of homeless citizens occupying downtown Salt Lake and other areas of the county has been a concerning problem for a long time, and while solutions have been put down on the table, we have not taken action until December of last year. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Jackie Biskupski, the Mayor of Salt Lake City, as well as the City Council, announced on Tuesday of December 13, 2016, the selected sites for four 150-bed homeless shelters.    

Negative feedback came in harsh waves when Draper Mayor Troy Walker presented two locations for future homeless-shelter city locations in a meeting. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, “The action came after residents threatened Walker’s impeachment, promised a lawsuit and portended opposition to the mayor’s potential November re-election.” The pummeling from “nearly 1,000 residents” led to the retraction of the proposed locations.

The two locations where the homeless shelters will no longer be built include Sugarhouse and the site closest to the downtown Road Home shelter.  According to the Deseret News, this change came after “…months of outrage from Sugarhouse residents fearing the Simpson Avenue site would have catastrophic impacts on their single-family neighborhood.”  What this means for the two new homeless shelters that are being built is that they will be larger, having 200-bed shelters instead of being capped at 150.

According to the Deseret News, Michael Lobb, a resident of the Sugarhouse neighborhood, said that he is “…glad they heard what we said and they will make a better move forward with what they choose to do.  It just takes a lot of concern away.  The neighborhood as a whole has been supportive of trying to help the homeless, but in a way, it doesn’t affect the neighborhood in such a negative way.”

With the opening of these new homeless shelters, city officials have now set an official date for when to close the overcrowded Road Home in downtown Salt Lake.  According to the Deseret News, the Road Home will be closing on June 30, 2019.