Homelessness

Shelters are already full as Utah prepares for increasing cases of COVID-19.
KOMUnews / Flickr

“The reality is, our shelters are full,” said Joe Vazquez, the co-executive director of the Salt Lake City Mission. He said in the 23 years he’s worked with rescue missions to help the homeless, he’s been involved with disasters before, but never one so massive as this one surrounding the coronavirus pandemic — especially since it’s been compounded by the aftermath of last week’s earthquake.

Homelessness in Utah, squatting in abandoned buildings and living out of cars, Utah's unsheltered homeless count increased 1,475% in the Bear River area.
Cliff Johnson / Flickr

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Devolopment (HUD) defines 'homelessness' as: "living in a place not meant for human habitation, in emergency shelter, in transitional housing, or are exiting an institution where they temporarily resided."  On Jan. 23, volunteers spread across the state to help with HUD's annual Point-in-Time (PIT) Count.

Mardi Gras donations Mardi Bra fundraiser at the Salt Lake City Mission in Utah.
samslens / pixabay.com

According to Family Promise Salt Lake, two-thirds of the homeless in Utah live in Salt Lake County. Joe Vazquez has been with Salt Lake City Mission for six years, but he’s worked with rescue missions for 23. He said while the reported numbers of the homeless in Utah are dropping, the number of individuals and families in poverty in the state is rising.

Salt Lake Tribune

Lawmakers tackle tax reform in a special legislative session. Despite bed availability, some homeless men in Salt Lake City say the new Men's Resource Center is too far away. And Sen. Mitt Romney objects to a big jump in fees for obtaining genealogical records from the federal government.

CNN

Utah's representatives in Washington respond to racist remarks made by president Trump on Twitter. Utah Sen.

Salt Lake Tribune

A Utah lawmaker introduces a bill to ban abortions after 15 weeks, despite a federal judge striking down a similar measure in Mississippi. The closure of the Salt Lake City homeless shelter gets delayed while construction kinks are worked out for one of three new, smaller, shelters. And celebrities and filmmakers descend on Utah as the 2019 Sundance Film Festival gets underway.    At 9 a.m. on Friday, Salt Lake Tribune reporters Bethany Rodgers, Taylor Stevens and Sean P. Means, and editor Jennifer Napier-Pearce join KCPW's Roger McDonough to talk about the week's top stories.

Salt Lake Tribune

   

The Utahns in the running to replace Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who is stepping down amid ethics investigations. A new report shows a link between Wasatch Front air pollution and miscarriages, but many doctors aren't talking about it with their patients. And neighbors work to shut down a homeless hospice clinic on Salt Lake City's east side. 

pixno.com

Federally qualified health centers across the state provide low or no cost health services to Utahns experiencing homelessness. 13 of these clinics combined received nearly $1 million in grants this week. The money was awarded for the quality of service the centers offer.

Salt Lake Tribune

After its first year of implementation, how has Operation Rio Grande impacted crime and homelessness in Salt Lake City? The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints requests a shift away from the terms 'LDS' and 'Mormon.' Also, opponents to Utah's medical marijuana ballot initiative argue against it on the basis of religious freedom. And the absence of a tiny star on driver licenses may affect Utahns' ability to travel. 

On Friday, Salt Lake City will hold its first Project Homeless Connect. Standing in the Salt Palace Convention Center, Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski announced what the city plans to make an annual event.

UTAH DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY

State and local officials are moving into phase two of a law enforcement program targeting Salt Lake’s Rio Grande District.

Utah Department of Public Safety

A new plan to restore safety in Salt Lake’s Rio Grande district is in motion.

Operation Rio Grande - a three-phase operation that will continue over the next two years - is officially underway as of Monday morning.

Dennis Stock

Admired nationwide for its effective solutions to homelessness, Salt Lake City is now faced with a burgeoning homeless population magnified by crime, drugs and frustrations from the surrounding community.

www.utah.gov

A string of recent assaults, including an alleged murder, in Downtown Salt Lake’s Rio Grande District led to a meeting Wednesday between Governor Gary Herbert and other state leaders on how to handle the growing violence.

 Fireworks dazzle Utahns over the July Fourth weekend, but fires and increased air pollution have some residents wondering if the displays are worth the trouble. Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes considers involving the National Guard in the violence affecting the Rio Grande homeless population. And Utah Jazz player Gordon Hayward says goodbye to the Beehive State as he accepts a position with the Boston Celtics.

boisestatepublicradio.org

The director of the nonprofit that's leading homeless-reform in Utah's Salt Lake County has announced where its new shelter for men will be located.

A shelter for single men will be built in South Salt Lake. Two additional shelters will be built in Salt Lake City: one for women only and the other for single men and single women.

spotlightonpoverty.org

 

Officials south of Salt Lake City say efforts to tackle the contentious political issues of drugs and overcrowding at the capital's homeless shelter appear to be pushing more people in need to Provo. 

Photo: Mikey Kettinger

Every four years, in conjunction with the presidential election, Americans become slightly more interested in politics. Polls, candidates, issues and parties become subjects of countless jokes and a lot of attention, and for some Salt Lake City museums, politics will be central themes for exhibitions.