Pioneer Park Coalition concerned about security at new homeless resource centers

Sep 23, 2019, 8:33 PM | Updated: 9:29 pm

(Credit: Paul Nelson)...

(Credit: Paul Nelson)

(Credit: Paul Nelson)

SALT LAKE CITY – Hoping history doesn’t repeat itself.

Some business owners in downtown say The Road Home Shelter should have shut down by now, and they claim the delay is causing more concerns.  They believe the same criminal element that plagued the shelter for years could reappear in new homeless resource centers and they want changes to be made.

There was a reason why state officials, law enforcement and homeless advocates picked June 30th as the deadline to close The Road Home Shelter.  Former House Speaker Greg Hughes says they wanted to move those residents and have space ready before the weather gets cold.

“It would be an absolute tragedy if we don’t see this happen as successfully as we planned in the past,” Hughes says.

Now that the deadline has come and gone without the shelter shutting down, Hughes says they have less and less time to make sure security is in place in the new resource centers.  Some officials with the Pioneer Park Coalition have their doubts about the safety of low-barrier shelters, who will essentially take anyone who says they need help.

(Credit: Paul Nelson)

Pioneer Park Coalition Vice Chair David Kelly says, “It doesn’t matter if you’re drunk, if you’re high, if you have a name… anything.  We’ll give you shelter.”

Kelly says they’re very concerned about how people wouldn’t need to provide a real name to live in the centers.

“That’s what happens in the low-barrier shelters because you don’t have to give a name.  You don’t have to say who you are.  It just gets to where you can disappear,” he says.

He says that anonymity helped three separate drug cartels working near The Road Home to recruit homeless people to sell drugs or commit other crimes.  However, Shelter Executive Director Matt Minkevitch says they didn’t have nearly as much help from police as they do now, thanks to Operation Rio Grande.

“We’ve had an unprecedented level of law enforcement involvement to help our community root out some of the severe problems,” Minkevitch says.

He believes that level of police assistance needs to stay the same if they want to eliminate the criminal element at shelters.  Also, he says the vast majority of people who come for shelter are using their real names.

“If someone is using an alias and if Adult Parole and Probation is looking for [them], they’re going to be asking us if someone has been presenting themselves, and we can share that information,” he adds.

Other advocates say there are people in need who will avoid getting shelter because of security measures like check-ins and metal detectors.  Shelter The Homeless Executive Director Preston Cochrane says their main goal is just to convince people to reach out for help.

Cochrane says, “Really, at the end of the day, it’s, ‘How do we connect clients with services?  How do we get people to step out of homelessness and into housing.”

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Politics + Government

FILE: Sen. Mike McKell, R-Spanish Fork, and Rep. Jordan Teuscher, R-South Jordan, speak about their...

Aimee Cobabe

Bill allowing parents to sue social media companies moves closer to becoming law

HB464 gives Utah parents the power to sue a social media company if their child develops mental health issues after using the apps

5 hours ago

FILE: An Angel bike given to the family of Eli Mitchell in April, 2023. Mitchell was hit and killed...

Britt Johnson

Families of drunk driving victims fight possible new Utah liquor license legislation

The bill sponsored by Rep. Jefferson Burton would increase the number of liquor licenses issued by the state of Utah.

6 hours ago

Rep. Dan Johnson, R-Logan, was transported in an ambulance after an apparent medical issue in the H...

Bridger Beal-Cvetko

Utah representative transported in ambulance after apparent medical issue on House floor

Rep. Dan Johnson, R-Logan, was seated at his desk shortly after lawmakers convened for an afternoon session at 2 p.m. when the incident occurred.

7 hours ago

utah lake shown, a bill tackling a failed lake project has advanced...

Adam Small

A bill to undo law regarding controversial, failed Utah Lake project advances to the full House

The law that would be repealed through this bill is the same law that created the Utah Lake Restoration Act.

9 hours ago

Former president Donald Trump, Manhattan trial...


With trial starting next month, Manhattan DA asks judge for a gag order in Trump’s hush-money case

The Manhattan DA's office asked that Trump be barred from making or directing others to make public statements about people involved in the case.

10 hours ago

FILE: The Utah attorney general’s office at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Friday, Jan. 27, 202...


5 things to know about KSL’s legal fight for transparency

KSL and the Utah Attorney General’s Office are squaring off in a legal fight over access to Attorney General Sean Reyes’ work calendar.

11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Pioneer Park Coalition concerned about security at new homeless resource centers