HOUSING + HOMELESSNESS

At a vigil to remember those who died homeless in Utah, talk of the future

Dec 22, 2022, 5:00 PM | Updated: Dec 30, 2022, 11:16 am

At a vigil to remember those who died homeless in Utah, talk of the future...

JoAnne Johanson, whose children both died while experiencing homelessness, attends the annual candlelight vigil honoring those who died while homeless this year at Pioneer Park in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022. At least 159 people who were homeless in Utah died in 2022. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

(Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — A candlelight vigil was held on Dec. 21 to remember the 152 homeless people who died in Utah this year. It was held in Pioneer Park in downtown Salt Lake City. 

During the vigil, all 152 names were read aloud. Some people spoke about those being remembered, and what life is like when you don’t have a permanent place to call home.

“I know the struggles, I know the hardships that they face,” Kaden Coil told KSL TV. “And I know their successes and their wins. But the losses are just as hard.”

Coil is a case manager at the Salt Lake Mission, an emergency shelter for families with children that serves up to 300 people per night according to its webpage.

More beds for the Utah homeless, but is it enough?

The day of the vigil became a new type of memorial day after Gov. Spencer Cox named December 21 as Homeless Person’s Memorial Day in Utah. And this week the governor revealed a new fiscal policy that includes millions of dollars for more beds at homeless shelters. 

Maude Norman attended the vigil. And she said that more beds are fine, but at the same time, more is needed from the government.

“They do need more beds. But they also need a long-term solution to try to help people,” she said.

The Salt Lake Mission is one of the organizations that helps people experiencing homelessness in Utah. At the vigil, the director, Pastor Shawn Clay, spoke of the need for housing.

“They need a safe place where they can be and start their lives over again,” Clay said.

Earlier this week, when news reached Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall that five unsheltered people had died in freezing outdoor temperatures, she issued an executive order authorizing homeless shelters to open more beds. 

“It’s a year-round issue. We’re doing a temporary band-aid fix here,” Mendenhall said in a press conference about the order. “This is not a solution.” 

The Utah Medical Examiner’s office plans to begin tracking housing status at the time of death for anyone who passes away in the State of Utah. The information should help provide the state with the average life expectancy and evidence of the causes of death of those suffering from homelessness.

Related reading:

 

 

 

We want to hear from you.

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

Housing + Homelessness

FILE: A "For sale" sign in front of a home in North Salt Lake on Monday, Oct. 30, 2023....

Curt Gresseth

Utah home prices not likely to fall soon, says real-estate expert

Utah home prices are back up and so are interest rates -- and they will stay high says a Utah real-estate expert.

5 hours ago

Homelessness grew by 12% in 2023 from last year, meaning 70,650 more people were unhoused....

Mariah Maynes

No one-size-fits-all solution to help those experiencing homelessness, expert says

Those experiencing homelessness in Utah often are presented with similar options, regardless of their situation. 

2 days ago

A for sale sign is pictured in North Salt Lake on Monday, Aug. 28, 2023. A new report on Utah’s e...

Don Brinkerhoff

Expert weighs in on home prices in Utah

Home prices in Utah are staying relatively flat however, fluctuating interest rates are pricing homebuyers out.

2 days ago

People experiencing homelessness walk in the street near a winter overflow shelter at St. Vincent d...

Peter Johnston

Code blue bill would open emergency beds at 18 degrees

The legislature is considering whether to raise the temperature at which emergency beds open up during code blue alerts. 

2 days ago

the front of a homeless shelter, budget plan utah...

Eric Cabrera

Salt Lake business leaders show support for governor’s budget plan to help homeless people in Utah

Leaders who approve of the budget plan said they had seen a huge difference in downtown Salt Lake over the past six months.

8 days ago

new home construction show, homebuilding is down in the US...

Anna Bahney, CNN

US homebuilding sees biggest drop since April 2020

Housing starts, a measure of new home construction, fell by 14.8%, compared with the previous month.

11 days 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.

At a vigil to remember those who died homeless in Utah, talk of the future