Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
🐘 RNC updates via NPR: JD Vance, Matt Gaetz, Kellyanne Conway to take the stage

Junior High Welcomes New Homeless Shelter To The Neighborhood

Whittney Evans
Students play outside Salt Lake Arts Academy, which is situated nearby a new planned homeless shelter.

Administrators at a Salt Lake City charter school are welcoming a new homeless shelter to the neighborhood. This comes as other city residents worry about how the four planned centers might affect property values and safety.

Salt Lake Arts Academy at 844 south and 200 east is a quintessential urban middle school. A lot of students walk or take public transit to school, the public library and the Liberty Wells Rec Center for PE.

It’s something Principal Amy Wadsworth is proud of. 

“We’re part of the downtown, we teach our kids to take buses, take the train, to navigate their city. And part of being in their city is working with all populations,” she says.

The neighborhood is home to Palmer Court, which provides housing for the chronically homeless. As well as three drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers.

But Wadsorth says those services don’t cause problems for her school or her kids. She’s more worried about the people who aren’t getting services, a population that seems to be growing.

“Some of the locations where we have gone like Topher park, which is about a block and a half away this year has set up like a camp, a homeless camp,” Wadsworth says. “So we don’t play there anymore.”

Wadsorth says a new shelter/resource center at 131 east 700 south will give those people the support they need. 

City Councilman Derek Kitchen received a threatening email last month from a resident over one of the chosen locations. But Wadsworth says she’s hopeful the city can avoid the overcrowding, queuing and drug deals that occur outside the existing homeless shelter on 210 Rio Grande Street. 

“What we want to be involved in is making sure that there’s a commitment to the design of this program and a commitment to funding.”

City council members say the locations for the new shelters are final, but the public can provide input at a series of community workshops and community council meetings scheduled this month. 

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.
KUER is listener-supported public radio. Support this work by making a donation today.