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Governor Urges Taxpayers to Contribute to Pamela Atkinson Homeless Fund

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Governor Gary Herbert and homeless advocate Pamela Atkinson are urging Utahns to set a few dollars aside for the homeless when filing tax returns this year.

Herbert and Atkinson met with service providers at Salt Lake City’s 4th Street Clinic on Thursday to remind Utah taxpayers that they can easily donate to the Pamela Atkinson Homeless Trust Fund when they fill out their income tax returns. The competitive grant helps to supplement agencies statewide in their efforts to provide shelter, day centers, outreach and case management to homeless individuals.

Governor Herbert says Atkinson’s efforts and the trust fund money are helping the state reduce homelessness, but, according the state tax commission, contributions to the fund have declined.

“Some of it’s just a lack of awareness,” Herbert says. “We get complacent. Things are good. And we need to realize that in spite of our healthy economy, which is the best in America today, that we have people that are struggling out there. And we need to not forget. We need to be reminded.”

More than 30 organizations benefit from the fund. Atkinson says this past year, the money went toward the completion of 32 different projects from Logan to St. George.

“It is absolutely statewide,” Atkinson says. “This includes emergency services, shelter and case management and as the governor said is truly making a difference.”

Salt Lake County is also asking the state legislature for $27 million this year to fund new shelters and services. This comes after the Salt Lake City and county Homeless Services Site Evaluation Commission determined some providers and shelters should be scattered throughout the community rather than centrally located, as they are currently.

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