HOUSING + HOMELESSNESS

Homeless Resource Center squads are making a positive impact

Oct 27, 2023, 6:00 AM

A photo of the Gail Miller Resource Center....

The Road Home operates the Gail Miller Resource Center, located at 242 Paramount Avenue in Salt Lake City, Utah. The center provides on-site supportive services for those experiencing homelessness. This photo was taken on Tuesday, January 12, 2021. (Intellectual Reserve, Inc.)

(Intellectual Reserve, Inc.)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake City Police Department said two Homeless Resource Center squads in the city are making a huge impact. 

These two squads are relatively new, starting back in July of this year. They primarily work to build relationships with people experiencing homelessness.

Chief Mike Brown with SLCPD said officers working in the community have built up trust. 

“These squads are incredibly important. Over the last three months, these officers and their sergeants have done incredible work to improve the safety of the resource centers and drastically enhance the livability of the neighborhoods they serve,” Brown said. 

Executive Director of The Road Home Michelle Flynn runs the Gail Miller Resource Center. She said she could see a noticeable, positive difference.

“The officers have been really good in trying to develop positive relationships. A lot of the people we serve may not have had great interactions with law enforcement in the past and it’s really wonderful to see that trust building up between law enforcement,” Flynn said.

Brown said they’ve also seen a reduction in the number of calls around homeless centers, like the Gail Miller Resource Center. Flynn agreed that the resource center squads have made things safer for people experiencing homelessness.

“It’s essential that we create a safe neighborhood for them to come in and out of that facility,” Flynn said. “Having the squad here to really get to know our staff and understand what’s happening inside and really have that presence outside has been incredibly beneficial.”

However, Flynn said they still need more affordable housing. More affordable housing would reduce the number of people who go to the homeless resource centers in the first place.

Going forward, Brown said the department will continue to fund these squads.

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Homeless Resource Center squads are making a positive impact