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

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


Utah shelters prepare to take in more people under Code Blue protocol

Under a new law, resource centers and other spaces are required to expand their capacity up to 35% if the temperature will fall to 15 degrees or below.

2 days ago

Inflation has frustrated home buyers, with many feeling like they'll never buy a house. But spendin...

Britt Johnson

Spending is trending but it’s making home buying even harder

Inflation has frustrated home buyers, with many feeling like they'll never buy a house. But spending is part of what has driven it so high.

9 days ago

Coachman's Dinner and Pancake House at 1301 South and State Street in Salt Lake City, Utah Dec. 11,...

Britt Johnson

Condo development on site of Coachman’s restaurant fails

A blow for Salt Lake City's Liberty Wells Neighborhood, a new condo complex on the site of Coachman's restaurant will not be moving forward.

12 days ago

Gov. Spencer Cox, Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson, Clark Ivory, with the Utah Impact Partnershi...

Emma Keddington

Progress is being made to keep unsheltered people safe this winter

Governor Cox and Salt Lake community leaders reaffirmed their efforts to get unsheltered people into warm beds this winter.

19 days ago

New single family homes under construction in the South Jordan area of the Salt Lake Valley. Utah i...

Don Brinkerhoff

Utah needs 178,000 homes to meet projected demand, entry-level housing can help

It’s estimated the state will need another 178,000 homes by the year 2030. Utah needs entry-level housing the most.

23 days ago

Building construction continues with a crane in downtown Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023.  ...

Eric Cabrera

Salt Lake City to build “micro shelter community” for homeless

Salt Lake City leaders want to build a "micro shelter community," rather than a sanctioned campground the homeless.

26 days ago

Sponsored Articles

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.

Human hand holding a protest banner stop vaping message over a crowded street background....

Prosperous Utah Communities

Utah’s Battle to Protect Youth from Vaping Epidemic Faces New Threat as Proposed Rule Threatens Progress

Utah's strict standards of nicotine levels in vaping products are at risk, increasing health hazards associated with use. Read more about how you can advocate for a better future for Utah's youth.

Aerial photo of Bear Lake shoreline with canopies and people camped out on the beach...

Visit Bear Lake

Last-Minute Summer Vacation Planning? Check Out Bear Lake!

Bear Lake is the perfect getaway if you are last-minute summer vacation planning. Enjoy activities with your whole family at this iconic lake.

Winter overflow beds for homeless open up as temperatures cool