Following the closure of the downtown Salt Lake Community Shelter in November of 2019, a new 300-men Homeless Resource Center opened at 1000 West in South Salt Lake. And since many are claiming the new center’s capacity is hundreds less than the previous one and continually full, it leaves the homeless with no place to go.
At the new Men’s Resource Center in South Salt Lake, volunteers are invited to help with meal prep and service. Sign up at bit.ly/TRHmeals.
In early January, a group of city activists set up a demonstration camp at Washington Square Park in downtown SLC, demanding more beds, free public transit and better treatment from law enforcement for the city’s homeless. Washington Square Park just happens to be the home of the Salt Lake City and County Building, and during this protest, the county issued a “Homeless Camp Cleanup” posting signs giving a 24-hour notice for all to clear out on Sunday, January 5, 2020, by 9 a.m. As the story was covered by abc4utah TV news, SL County Health official Nick Rupp brought up Utah code violations at the encampment, stating that the clean up was necessary for human safety, and noting that human waste and syringes were found there. On Saturday, January 4th at 9 p.m. police began to clear the park to enforce its curfew, and in a clash 16 were arrested.
Cleared out and cleaned up, on Monday, January 6, 2020, and on the steps of the Salt Lake City and County Building, the inauguration ceremony for the new Salt Lake City Mayor, Erin Mendenhall, and city council members took place. A few weeks following, Mayor Mendenhall announced the opening of a new and temporary (until April 15th) homeless shelter in Sugar House at 2234 S. Highland Drive providing another 145 beds and in close proximity to public transportation. What is the long term plan? With new shelter locations and homeless solutions in hot debate (like Simpson Ave.), nimbyism is alive as ever. And while we may say, not in my neighborhood, officials seem to be saying, not while getting sworn into public office either.
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