Mayor Jackie Biscupski, in an interview with Salt Lake magazine following a Sugar House community meeting, seemed to hint that the selection of sites for homeless resource centers could change.
After the packed meeting at which she was sometimes jeered, Biscupski said though she still stands behind the sites selected for the four shelters being final, “I can’t speak for the Council.”
She also said she was keeping an open mind until she attends the last meeting, Ballpark Communty Council, that would host two resource centers.
“I’m still listening,” Biscupski said. “I want to know what the concerns are. But I’m just not seeing that [a reason to reconsider], yet.”
She added, “So far, the concerns I’m hearing are fear of the unknown.”
At the two meetings Tuesday night—Central City and Sugar House—citizens complained the sites were determined with scant public input and that city leaders are asking neighborhoods to accept a gamble that an untested “new model” for homelessness, in which the resource centers will be only transition points into permanent homes, will actually work. Several residents said failure of the “scattered-site” approach would make the centers magnets for crime and drugs deep in their communities.
“I have tremendous faith in the new model,” Biscupski said.