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City Moves To Build Four New Homeless Shelters Instead Of Two

Whittney Evans
Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes joines Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams and Salt Lake City Council Chair James Rogers at city hall Friday.

After hours of negotiations Friday morning, Salt Lake City, County and State officials came to an agreement on the size of the city’s new homeless shelters.

City officials are now tasked with finding locations for four new homeless shelters, not to exceed 150 overnight beds each. Initially Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams’ proposed two shelters with 250 beds each. Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski supported that configuration, but members of the city council, including Salt Lake City Council Chair James Rogers said that was too large.

“Either way you look at it, if it’s a residence or it’s a business, there is going to be an impact and we want to minimize that as a city council,” Rogers says.

The smaller facilities will cost more, but Mayor McAdams says they’ll be more effective. 

“So we’re happy to work with it and we’ll work over the next couple weeks to refine what that incremental cost is,” McAdams says.

Mayor Biskupski and the city council are, together expected to select sites before the general legislative session in January. Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes stopped by city hall Friday to ease negotiations along. He feared without progress, the state would pull out of its promise of $27 million for the project.  

“The state is not going to withdraw from this issue,” Hughes says. “The state has to stay.”

City and county leaders say they’ll be looking for multiple funding sources to complete project. 

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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