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New Programs Tackle Recidivism, Homelessness in Salt Lake County

Whittney Evans
A mural outside The Road Home shelter on 210 Rio Grande.

Salt Lake County has officially launched two initiatives that will put hundreds of homeless people into housing and hopefully curb repeated jail stays. 

Two local nonprofits-The Road Home and First Step House will operate the two so-called pay-for-success programs with the help of $11.5 million in private investments. Together, the programs will serve about 550 people. Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdam’s says recidivism and homelessness are at the top of his priority list.

“Both involve people in need of help to regain stable lives and absent a solution, both will continue to strain our county’s budget,” McAdams says. “So this is a win-win.”

The Road Home’s program, “Homes Not Jail” is meant for people who have spent between 90 and 364 days in the shelter or on the streets. McAdams says that population is usually on long waitlists or ineligible for housing assistance. Now they’ll get a place to live, behavioral health treatment and employment counseling.

The second program managed by First Step House is called REACH. It provides formerly incarcerated adult males with behavioral health treatment, housing and case management services.

Matt Minkevitch is Executive Director of The Road Home. He thanked the partners involved, as well as those who will be participating in the programs.

“Those men and those women who are currently living on the streets or in shelter who are looking for a better opportunity,” Minkevitch says. “Who are thirsting to get out of this desperate situation and into a more stable one.”

“Homes Not Jail” and “REACH” will be evaluated over four years to determine if they are actually driving down homelessness and recidivism. The county will repay investors, only if the programs are successful. 

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