Homeless advocates give update after closure of Road Home shelter

Dec 10, 2019, 2:18 PM
South Salt Lake men's homeless shelter resource center homeless advocates...
The newest men's homeless center in Salt Lake City. (Photo Credit: Paul Nelson)
(Photo Credit: Paul Nelson)

SALT LAKE CITY — About 20 days since new homeless resource centers opened and the Road Home shelter closed, advocates are giving an update on how everything is working.

The resource centers have about 700 beds between them, which operate at or near capacity, though that fluctuates nightly, according to Jonathan Hardy, Division Director of Housing and Community Development for the Utah Department of Workforce Services. He says no one will ever be turned away, pointing to an overnight warming center without beds and other beds in the area to which they have access.

“We are working on that connection point between people coming into the warming center, and making that connection to the resource centers,” Hardy said.

Hardy said in spite of state and local efforts, some people are just “shelter-resistant.”

“We feel like people if they need a place to go they can come in at least to the warming center and we can help connect them to services,” he said.

Preston Cochrane with Shelter the Homeless says the intake process is different now.

“There is no one-size-fits-all, and we want to make sure people are directed to the right program, the right service and the right resource center,” Cochrane said.

One thing that’s helping is the strong volunteering spirit in the area. Cochrane says volunteers have stepped up to serve meals or sort donations. A number of Eagle Scout projects brought in clothing, winter gear and food. And a mobile medical clinic is also running, assessing people experiencing homelessness at the new resource centers.

There’s a lot of people working hard on this issue,” Hardy said. “We are learning some things.”

Homeless advocates like Cochrane say now that the Road Home has closed, the services it once provided are divided up among the different centers for men, women and families. They are always looking for volunteers and donations of food, clothing and winter gear.

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Homeless advocates give update after closure of Road Home shelter