CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Utah official says better coordination could help with homelessness

Nov 29, 2022, 1:00 PM | Updated: Dec 30, 2022, 11:17 am

homeless shelters and Homelessness in Utah...

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

(Photo: Steve Griffin, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Recently, A group of Utah officials flew to Miami-Dade County, Florida on a mission. They wanted to witness how Florida officials have reduced those experiencing homelessness in Miami-Dade County by 90%.

Senator Todd Weiler spoke with KSL NewsRadio’s Dave and Dujanovic about what he thinks “the secret sauce” is when handling homelessness – coordination. 

“It really takes a coordinated effort between the police, the courts, the mental health providers,” said Weiler.

According to Weiler, the approach isn’t uniform across the board in Salt Lake County

“It’s very different than what I think the Utah approach has been,” said Weiler. “Especially because we’re not coordinating all of our efforts between the courts and the police and the mental health providers and the shelters.”

Weiler also said that Miami-Dade saved money and the time of the criminal justice system by treating the chronically homeless for mental health illnesses, instead of prosecuting them. Weiler continued that this could help stop the revolving door of incarceration many of them face. 

“We need to stop treating these people, the same as everyone else in the criminal justice, we need to divert them in my opinion, we need to divert them immediately to mental health treatment,” said Weiler.

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Utah official says better coordination could help with homelessness