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Unflattering Audit Raises Questions About The Road Home's Services

Whittney Evans/KUER
Lorie Tonge and her son were once residents at The Road Home. They were able to find an apartment.

A legislative audit shows drug use and other safety issues continue to be a problem inside three facilities owned by The Road Home, months after state and local officials launched a law enforcement crackdown in the neighborhood. 

State auditors found that residents sell drugs, use heroin and have in some cases brought loaded weapons inside two shelters and an apartment complex. Preston Cochrane is Executive Director of Shelter The Homeless. They own the properties where The Road Home facilities are located. Cochrane said operating a shelter for vulnerable populations can be tricky.  

“If people are denied access to the shelter the alternatives are to place them in treatment facilities, in jail or to have them on the streets,” Cochrane said. “Which, for some at certain times of the year, that can be the equivalent of a death sentence.”

But Cochrane said house rules, like a zero-tolerance drug policy need to be enforced consistently to keep people safe.

Matt Minkevitch, Executive Director of The Road Home says he’s already working to tighten security and make other improvements.   

Shelter The Homeless is in charge of awarding contracts to service providers who will operate one or more of the county’s three new homeless shelters. The Road Home is one of five applicants. That process has been delayed until a second audit is released late this summer.  

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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