On the 11th day of her term as Salt Lake City Mayor, Erin Mendenhall fulfilled a campaign promise by announcing that a city-owned building in Sugar House will house 145 emergency beds for homeless residents.
“Every single person who seeks shelter during the winter months should have access to a safe, warm place to sleep and an ability to connect with services,” Mendenhall said. “This is a fundamental human right.”
The emergency beds are necessary because three newly-opened homeless resource centers are operating at about 96% capacity, Mendenhall said.
The city is working on heating and renovations at the property, located at 2234 S. Highland Dr., which will cost about $5,000. The city is also relying on donations to help pay for the shelter and for transportation to homeless services in other parts of the city.
Bill Tibbitts with Crossroads Urban Center said it was “rocket speed for city government” to come up with a solution so quickly, which he attributed to Mendenhall’s leadership.
“It’s really impressive to see her, within 11 days of actually being in a position where she could address the problem, that she’s doing something,” Tibbitts said.
The city council is scheduled to approve a temporary land use permit for the property Friday afternoon. Barring extreme spring weather, the emergency shelter will remain open until April 15.
Nicole Nixon covers politics for KUER. Follow them on Twitter @_Nixo