Saturday, September 26, 2020

Home City Life Citizen's Guide To Homelessness

Citizen's Guide To Homelessness


Salt Lake City this week convened the last in a series of public-engagement workshops on building two new homeless shelters to address the seemingly insurmountable problem of homelessness downtown. (Despite some national reports, Salt Lake has not “solved” homelessness.)

The workshop at the new Marmalade Library was packed and the citizens and staff from homeless-service providers worked diligently. Even a couple of transitioning-homeless people joined in to provide an often-overlooked street perspective.

The city provided vegetables, dip, M&M chocolate-chip cookies and facilitators.

It soon became apparent, however, that the workshop’s parameters were going to be controlled. For one thing, the participants were issued a pre-determined list of “Criteria for Success” to prioritize. The list was developed by the city’s Homeless Services Site Commission.

Here’s a recap on where we are on solving homelessness:

— The city’s got a new plan that would disperse services (and the homeless) around the city.

— We’re going to build two new centers—men and women, respectively.

— And soon to come: “Community partners” will agree on shared goals to end homelessness.

The workshops seem to be the mayor’s office’s response to the public’s skepticism and feeling of powerlessness on the placement of homeless centers. For instance:

— In whose neighbornood will the centers be built? It’s unlikely Federal Heights will host a homeless center despite its proximity to the Trax line (a Criteria for Success priority). More likely is the west side, perhaps along North Temple.

— City officials insist the new centers will be additions to the existing Pioneer Park shelters—not replacements. But developers—who are salivating over future multi-use projects in the prime Rio Grande neighborhood—don’t find panhandlers alluring to condo dwellers. (Keep in mind that the Road Home Center and Catholic Charities own the property they are on and intend to keep facilities downtown.) But as we know, what developers want in Salt Lake City is usually what they get.


The team at my table took the exercise at face value rather than a charade of public involvement. For instance, we emphasizing an effective staff-to-client ratio (not listed as a “success criteria”) over “aesthetically pleasing” architecture.

It wasn’t until the workshop’s end that frustration with the new mayor’s office’s capacity to deal with the issue emerged. At the close of the session, a citizen-participant asked Jen Seelig, director of Community Relations, “It seems like we’ve been working on this for years, when will the project start?”

“You mean ‘start’ like in shovels-turning-over-dirt start?” Selig asked.


City staff apparently hadn’t prepared for common-sense questions and Seelig immediately punted to Mike Reberg, head of Community and Neighborhood Development. Startled, Reberg began a sentence, hemmed—started again, hawed, then finally said, “In the near future.”

The room roiled with rueful laughter and murmurs of “politics.”

Last night’s vigil for Breonna Taylor. ...

Deep breath in. Deep breath out.
Have a peaceful Tuesday evening ☮️

Everyone could use a breath of fresh air! 🌞⁠

Be sure to follow social distancing rules on the tails. 🌲 Check the link in bio to read our convo with the Executive director of the @mtntrailspc foundation, Charlie Sturgis, about being part of the covid-19 solution. ⁠

Be gentle with one another, Salt Lake ❤️

Our September-October issue is on stands now! ⁠

Salt Lake magazine has traditionally devoted its September-October issue to travel, describing trips to destinations all over the world. This year, confined by COVID, we’re looking closer to home. ❤️⁠

Stay well and be sure to pick up our latest issue or subscribe to our magazine through the link in bio!


Happy Monday 🏞
Who else is dreaming of the weekend? 😴

“The power of the people is always stronger than the people in power." - Angela Johnson⁠

Check the link in bio to read our Q & A with protest organizers. ⁠

Photo credit: Max Smith @phhhhhhhhhhhotos⁠

It's getting HOT in here! 🌞 Check out our list of the best swimming spots in Utah to cool down at! Link in bio. ⁠

Have a safe and responsible weekend, Utah! Oh and P.S. Wear a mask ❤️⁠

📸: Photo courtesy of Utah Office of Tourism⁠

Something fishy is happening on the eastern edge of the Jordanelle Reservoir... ⁠

A municipality is attempting to annex unincorporated land across a county line without that county’s approval. If this sounds like madness, that’s because it is. Read the full story though the link in bio. ⁠

📸 Photo courtesy of: Utah Office of Tourism

Summertime slush! Soft cold slurpy sweet treats- the classic seasonal delight. 🍧⁠

Here’s where to get the best and how to make them yourself, check the link in bio! 🍭

We're a little red rock crazy this weekend if you couldn't tell. (But how could we not be!)⁠

🏜️ Check out 3 pup friendly hikes in our beautiful Moab 🐶 Link in bio! Happy Hiking! ⁠

📸: Utah Office of Tourism