Utah Homelessness Council approves $3M for a new emergency shelter for families
Jun 30, 2023, 8:00 PM
(Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)
SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Homelessness Council voted Friday to dedicate $3 million to building a second emergency shelter for homeless families in Salt Lake County, in what advocates called a “huge step” in keeping people sheltered in winter months.
The money was already allocated by the council in December to purchase shelter space for medically vulnerable individuals, but after Shelter the Homeless purchased the property in March, the group decided the space would be better utilized as a shelter for families.
The facility will supplement the existing Midvale Family Resource Center operated by the Road Home.
“It’s exciting that the state is realizing that we need to have enough beds to meet the emergency needs of families who are experiencing homelessness. Nobody wants children to be sleeping outside,” said Bill Tibbitts, deputy executive director of the Crossroads Urban Center.
Tibbitts said demand for shelter space has outpaced supply, and in one recent month there were more than 60 families turned away from shelters because there wasn’t room. A February report found a 30% increase in the number of people from families with children who used emergency homeless services in 2022.
It’s hard to predict how each year will go, but he said based on peak demand for shelters during this past year, the new facility could be enough to accommodate all the families with children in need of shelter.
“This is a huge step toward ensuring kids are not turned away from shelter in future years,” he tweeted.