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Legislature Funds Homeless Initiative, Including New Family Shelter

PROBryan & Lyn . via Creative Commons

Homeless service providers are looking forward to more shelter options, likely outside the overburdened Rio Grande Corridor in Salt Lake City.  Utah lawmakers set aside money this year to move forward with that plan.

More than $9 million in state and federal money will go into Utah’s new Housing and Homeless Reform Initiative. It’s part of a $27 million request from local government leaders and service providers that will be spread out over three years.  This year’s allocation will go toward the construction of a new family shelter and services to support the new facility. Glenn Bailey with Crossroads Urban Center says it’s great progress.

“Hopefully we can build on that momentum until we can actually really provide some housing, lessen the stress on homeless service providers and also provide some new options for people facing emergencies,” Bailey says.

The money is still subject to future appropriation, meaning Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams will have to make a case before the legislature each year to secure it.

“Really there is a lot of pressure on us to make sure this money is spent well, that we can see outcomes and that people’s lives are measurably improved and the homeless services are more efficiently and effectively improved to helping people to get out of crisis,” McAdams says.

Over the next few months, Salt Lake County will determine how a new family shelter should operate. Salt Lake City will use that criteria to determine where it should be located. 

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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