Auditors say homeless resource centers are safer than before, but drugs still finding their way inside

May 17, 2021, 7:38 PM

The men's homeless resource center in South Salt Lake, as seen in October 2019. File photo: Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY – Legislative auditors are giving high praise to homeless resource centers in Salt Lake City saying conditions are much safer now than a few years ago.  However, there are ways they can improve their efforts to keep drugs and weapons out. 

Auditors say the changes made within the shelters have led to noticeable improvements.  Their report shows The Road Home and Shelter have adopted new policies that have made the residents safer, and improved screening process that have prevented a lot of contraband items from getting inside.

Utah Legislative Deputy Auditor General Brian Dean says, “We see an improvement of the security, the cleanliness and the safety within the shelters.”

This audit was part of a follow-up from their audit in 2018, which Dean says raised a lot of questions about safety and security.

“We visited and repeated the same test that we ran in 2018.  Our audit team was there at all different hours and different days.  We were there in the middle of the night,” he says.

Despite all the improvements, Dean says there are ways the shelters can do better.  For instance, they recommend  Shelter The Homeless consider using K9 units to sniff out drugs, plus center operators should reconsider their current staffing levels.

Also, Dean says center operators need to provide workers with better training on what to do if someone breaks the rules.  Currently, there are specific guidelines that would evict residents if they’re caught with drugs, although operators are allowed to use their discretion before evicting someone.  Dean believes this discretion is making their punishments inconsistent.

“We see that discretion is ‘the rule’ more than ‘the exception,’” Dean says.

However, Dean understands it would be nearly impossible to completely rid the centers of drugs, considering so many of Utah’s homeless have problems with addiction.

She said, “Over the last five years, 61 percent of the people have received drug charges or treatment for drug addiction or mental illness.  Thirty-two percent of them had been convicted of a felony offense.”


Other Reading:

Inside Sources: For homeless veterans in Utah, this team has your back

$10 million matching grant gifted to Salt Lake Homeless Resource Centers

Salt Lake City officials say improvements to North Temple homeless camps may be slow, but they are happening

We want to hear from you.

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


FILE - A number of 5-mg pills of Oxycodone are displayed on June 17, 2019. Data released Tuesday, S...

Britt Johnson

New Central Utah crisis center will be “life-changing” for those struggling with opioids

An area of Utah struggling with opioid overdose deaths is getting help as a new crisis center opens in Central Utah. 

6 hours ago

The new ABS Kids center in Ogden will provide therapeutic services to children with autism in Utah....

Britt Johnson and Emma Keddington

Autism rates are surging in Utah, new treatment center to open in Ogden

1 in 36 children are diagnosed with autism in Utah. ABS Kids, a therapeutic center, is adding an Ogden location to keep up with treatment demand.

10 hours ago


Michelle Lee

Don’t skip the sunscreen before heading outside!

Let’s Get Moving Host Maria Shilaos spoke with Dr. Dekker Deacon with the Huntsman Cancer Institute to learn all about sunscreen products.

1 day ago

someone taps on facebook icon, utah lawmakers working to protect kids from social media...

Curt Gresseth

Utah lawmaker talks about his work to shield kids from social media

State Sen. Mike McKell discusses the legislation he has sponsored to undo the harm to Utah children from social media.

3 days ago

donating platelets at the American Red Cross on April 12, 2023. Murray facility approved for cold-s...

Heather Peterson

New platelet storage program could save lives, Red Cross says

The American Red Cross has secured new funding to support their new cold-storage platelet program. They say being able to extend the shelf-life from five days to 14 could be a life-saving matter. 

4 days ago

Katy Welkie, vice president of Intermountain and CEO of Intermountain Primary Children's Hospital, ...

Eric Cabrera, Amie Schaeffer

Intermountain Health to open behavioral health center in Taylorsville

Intermountain Health is expanding its behavioral health services. A new center for children and teens will open in Taylorsville in 2025.

7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Underwater shot of the fisherman holding the fish...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Your Bear Lake fishing guide

Bear Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. By preparing ahead of time, you might go home with a big catch!

A group of people cut a purple ribbon...


Comcast announces major fiber network expansion in Utah

Comcast's commitment to delivering extensive coverage signifies a monumental leap toward a digitally empowered future for Utahns.

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.


Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Auditors say homeless resource centers are safer than before, but drugs still finding their way inside