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McAdams Lays Out Plans For New Homeless Shelters, Services

Whittney Evans
Members of the Salt Lake County Collective Impact Steering Committee meet Wednesday to discuss how to minimize homelessness.

Plans are underway to build two new homeless shelters in Salt Lake County. But Mayor Ben McAdams says the goal is divert people into housing and toward services rather than keep pace with a growing demand for shelter beds.

Mayor McAdams says new shelters play a role in minimizing homelessness, but a small one.

“We see that far too many people are relying on emergency shelter as a primary place of receiving homeless services,” he says. “So the response can’t be we’re going to build more and bigger emergency shelters. It means we need to better connect people to services that are going to transition them away from homelessness.”

On Wednesday, McAdams met with the county’s Collective Impact Steering Committee. He asked for a new 70-bed detox and rehabilitation center for women and women with children, a similar 35-bed-facility for single men and a resource center that provides low income housing, education, healthcare and employment services to families. That’ in addition to two new 250-bed shelters. Members of the committee questioned whether the population would outgrow these new facilities. McAdams says not if the programs work.

Matt Minkevitch is executive director of The Road Home. He says housing, not shelters will be key.

“I agree with many of the concerns that were raised on the part of those that recognized that too many people are congregated along the Rio Grande corridor with no better place to go,” Minkevitch says. “And we need to create better places to go in our community.”

Salt Lake City officials have begun the process of identifying property to build the new shelters.  

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