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Mixed emotions to announcement of emergency shelter site in Salt Lake

Nov 17, 2021, 5:16 PM | Updated: 5:28 pm
business homeless shelter salt lake...
The Ramada Inn at 1659 W. North Temple in Salt Lake City is pictured on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021. It has been approved as the site of a 250-bed temporary overflow shelter for homeless people. Photo: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — A business owner near the site of a newly announced emergency overflow homeless shelter says she’s concerned about what the shelter might mean for her restaurant. 

And the Salt Lake City Council approved the rezoning request for an old Ramada hotel on the city’s west side to serve as an emergency overflow homeless shelter this winter, but with reservations. 

A win for Salt Lake Valley Coalition and the unhoused

The Salt Lake Valley Coalition to End Homelessness submitted the request for the Ramada at 1659 W. North Temple. The plan is to set up 250 beds for an emergency overflow shelter as the temperatures start to drop. 

Council members said it wasn’t an easy request to grant. They believe the capital city is repeatedly asked to house Utah’s unsheltered population. 

Mayor Mendenhall says homelessness crisis efforts are “largely unsupported”

“I’m frustrated with how disproportionately, and largely unsupported, the efforts of our city are to bring relief to this statewide homelessness crisis,” the mayor said. 

Mendenhall said she feels a mutual waning of willingness to do the heavy lifting while other cities in Salt Lake County refuse to step up. 

“I know that we all agree that our residents and our businesses in the city deserve a more balanced path forward,” she said. 

Local business owner shocked by rezoning approval 

At least one business near the planned shelter site, the Ramada, expressed some concerns. 

The Star of India, a local Indian restaurant owned by Parum Kaur, is located in the same building as the Ramada hotel. 

Kaur told KSL NewsRadio that she was shocked at the city council’s approval of the rezoning request. 

The 30-year-old Salt Lake City-based business has moved 3 times since its opening. Kaur said the Star of India has been at its current location, 1659 West North Temple, for six years. 

Kaur said they had no prior notice that the shelter would be going into the hotel. She learned while watching the virtual city council meeting Tuesday night.

They don’t know how the shelter will affect their business. But they plan to speak with someone from the city on Monday.

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Mixed emotions to announcement of emergency shelter site in Salt Lake