Winter overflow beds for homeless open up as temperatures cool

Oct 18, 2023, 8:00 AM

several people sit at a table to eat a meal...

Unsheltered individuals are seen having lunch at St. Vincent de Paul Center. The center opened Monday for winter overflow, adding 65 temporary beds for the season. (Don Grayston, Deseret News)

(Don Grayston, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — The first emergency winter overflow shelter beds of the season for Utah’s homeless opened on Monday, with St. Vincent de Paul providing 65 of what officials say will be 600 beds this year.

The Salt Lake County Winter Response Plan was finalized at the Utah Homelessness Council meeting on Sept. 21 and intends to feature a variety of shelter options for those seeking shelter amid the winter months. County officials had submitted the coordinated plan on Aug. 1 in accordance with state law, which requires counties of the first class — meaning with more than 1 million people — to annually prepare plans for winter “aimed at augmenting bed counts and developing transportation strategies.”

In addition to the 65 beds being provided at St. Vincent de Paul’s overflow, each homeless resource center across the county will be making an anticipated five winter beds available per day totaling 175 beds across the system.

Initial implementation for winter response includes the following 510 beds, with additional beds and resources being added throughout the winter:

  • 175 additional beds between the three homeless resource centers.
  • 160 beds at the West Valley City overflow site operated by Switchpoint.
  • 65 beds at St. Vincent de Paul.
  • 50 beds at the Volunteers of America detoxification expansion.
  • 50 beds at the non-congregate temporary shelter project, a government-sanctioned homeless campground in Salt Lake City.

The recently approved transitional homeless housing facility for the medically vulnerable in Sandy is also anticipated to serve up to 165 people with 100 units. The operator of the facility, Shelter the Homeless, has expressed an ambitious opening date of Dec. 1 to help meet the need during the winter.

“Without coordination efforts … we would lack the beds needed to keep people experiencing homelessness safe and warm this winter,” stated the Salt Lake Valley Coalition to End Homelessness.

The West Valley overflow site is anticipated to open on Nov. 1, a deviation from the date of Oct. 16 listed in a letter by the Utah Office of Homeless Services. Additional beds identified in the winter response plan are anticipated to be available by the end of November, including the 50 non-congregate temporary shelter project beds that were identified outside the winter response plan, according to the state office.

State Homeless Coordinator Wayne Niederhauser applauded the Salt Lake County Council of Governments, city and county leaders, municipalities, and the Salt Lake Valley Coalition to End Homelessness for its efforts.

“Their unwavering commitment significantly contributes to safeguarding our most vulnerable community members during this winter season. These concerted efforts underscore their pivotal role in ensuring essential shelter and warmth for individuals and families experiencing homelessness in Utah amidst this challenging season,” said Niederhauser.

Additional winter operations will include plans for a “code blue” protocol on some of the coldest nights. The “code blue” would work to prevent deaths on some of the coldest nights in the winter by requiring resource centers to expand capacity by 35% and allow other entities to open warming centers. The code would be declared by the Utah Department of Health and Human Services when temperatures reach 15 degrees Fahrenheit or below. The protocol was established in the 2023 legislative session with HB499 after at least eight unsheltered people died on Utah’s streets last winter.



We want to hear from you.

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

Housing + Homelessness

The housing market in Utah is competitive and shows minimal signs of slowing....

Aimee Cobabe

Unwelcome Home: Exploring the challenges of buying a home in Utah

The housing market in Utah remains as competitive as ever. Some people are braving it, some just can't stand it.

7 days ago

Nationally, economists think retiring baby boomers downsizing their homes could be a rapid solution...

Don Brinkerhoff

Utah’s housing shortage: Could baby boomers downsizing be the solution?

Nationally, economists think retiring baby boomers downsizing their homes could be a rapid solution to the housing shortage.

10 days ago

Single-family homes under construction in Saratoga Springs are pictured on Tuesday, July 19, 2022....

Adam Small

2023 saw far fewer building permits in Utah, report says

The Ogden-Clearfield metro area had the biggest percentage decline in building permits year-over-year, nose-diving by 34%.

17 days ago

An empty bedroom is seen in an affordable housing building run by Central City Concern, a Portland-...


Micro-apartments are back after nearly a century, as need for affordable housing soars

"Micro-apartments," small single rooms with a shared kitchen or bathroom, are popping up around the country.

20 days ago

Utah's economic growth has slowed year over year, with the Department of Workforce Services reveali...

Eric Cabrera

Fewer people moving to Utah means slower economic growth

Utah's economic growth has slowed, with the Department of Workforce Services revealing fewer people are migrating to Utah than years prior.

22 days ago

Housing construction and other construction in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, May 30, 2023....

Eric Cabrera

Salt Lake City secures record amount of affordable housing funding

A record a record $17.7 million in funding has been secured to go towards affordable housing in Salt Lake City.

24 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Live Nation Concerts

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.

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.

Winter overflow beds for homeless open up as temperatures cool