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homeless shelters and Homelessness in Utah
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Homeless shelters for the sick could get state aid under new bill

In their latest report, the ACLU argues Operation Rio Grande created more problems than it solved. (Photo: Steve Griffin, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Small homeless shelters that care for the dying and severely ill could soon apply for state grants under a new bill making its way through the Utah House.

Senator Luz Escamilla, D-Salt Lake City and the Senate’s minority whip, told the House Health and Human Services committee on Monday that larger shelters have not been letting those people in based on their medical condition.

“Many of them die within an average of six months. [But] some have recovered, and when they’re strong enough they can go back into communities,” she testified.

Not allowing them in the larger shelters increases pressure on the smaller ones. Those patients can also end up staying in hospital ERs or on the street.

SB 225, which overwhelmingly passed the Senate and cleared the House committee unanimously, would also let homeless shelters in outlying areas apply as well.