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Politics & Government

New Salt Lake Emergency Homeless Shelter First To Allow Couples To Room Together

A photo of the Airport Inn.
Pablo Zarate
The Airport Inn on the west side of Salt Lake City is the newest winter emergency shelter. It has capacity for up to 120 people.

The Salt Lake Valley Coalition to End Homelessness has opened a second winter overflow shelter.

The Airport Inn on the west side of Salt Lake City has capacity for 120 people. Residents can stay at the shelter all day for up to 100 nights.

Jean Hill, executive director of the coalition, said the Airport Inn is the only facility in Salt Lake County that lets couples without children stay together.

“We understand how important relationships are and how hard it is for couples to be forced to separate in order to meet their basic need of having a warm place to stay,” Hill said.

To make people more aware of available homeless services, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall said the city is also launching an online dashboard. The database will have information about bed space at shelters, storage for people’s belongings and other resources.

“Our goal of creating this dashboard comes down to transparency and up to date, as accurate as possible systemwide capacity information that needs to be in the hands of people seeking shelter,” Mendenhall said.

The database will be available on the city’s website. But access to the internet for people experiencing homelessness can be challenging. Mendenhall said the city has been working to improve its “digital equity connections” by creating access to free WiFi and computer labs.

“The dashboard in an electronic format is the only way that we’ve come up with so far to readily update that kind of daily information,” she said. “Print just doesn’t make sense for us. But we’re open to hearing from the community what other ways we could create better access to that kind of information.”

Mendenhall said the goal is to roll it out in about two weeks.

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