HOUSING + HOMELESSNESS

First microshelter opens in Salt Lake

Dec 19, 2023, 11:14 AM | Updated: Dec 21, 2023, 12:05 pm

the microshelter near rio grande...

Foldum construction members work on the setup of units for a microshelter community at a site near 300 South and 600 West in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023. (Megan Nielson, Deseret News)

(Megan Nielson, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — On Friday, Utah’s first microshelter designed to provide immediate relief to unsheltered individuals during the winter opened its doors.

Andrew Johnston is the director of homelessness policy for the Salt Lake City Mayor’s office. Johnston said this shelter helps ensure more people have a warm place to stay. Almost all of the shelters are at full capacity.

“They’re planning on taking up to 20 people over the weekend and then sort of growing up from there,” said Johnston. 

 The State Office of Homeless Services chose Switchpoint to run the shelter through the end of April.

“Their ability to get up and running quickly is really helpful. Here, it only took them a couple of weeks to get their staff who are already there ready to go,” said Johnston. 

Switchpoint is a nonprofit organization that will give 24-hour support to those in the shelter through April. Johnston said they’re currently working to get a more permanent shelter in place by that time with double the capacity.

According to Johnston, this is just one piece of a long-term strategy to help combat homelessness and Salt Lake. The microshelter is located at 300 South and 600 West in Salt Lake City. 

According to a press release from Mayor Erin Mendenhall’s office, there are 19 similar projects across three counties.

“Partnership, compassion, and deliberate organization of the temporary microshelter community are establishing an important model of shelter services that can support individuals in communities across the state,” Mayor Erin Mendenhall stated in the release.

“I am grateful for Switchpoint and the State Office of Homeless Services for their commitment and dedication to collaborating on this program,” Mendenhall added. 

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First microshelter opens in Salt Lake