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Tuesday A.M. headlines: Great Salt Lake dust pollution and a new plan on homelessness

The Great Salt Lake with a lower water level that exposes some of the lakebed

New strategic plan seeks to make homelessness 'rare, brief and non-recurring'

The Utah Homelessness Council and Utah Office of Homeless Services released a new plan on Monday, March 14 to address homelessness throughout the state, with the hope of making homelessness “rare, brief and non-recurring.”

The plan outlines five main goals: 1. Increase accessible and affordable permanent housing opportunities for people experiencing homelessness across the state. 2. Increase access to and availability of supportive services and case management for people experiencing and at risk of homelessness. 3. Expand homeless prevention efforts by increasing coordination, resources, and affordable housing opportunities. 4. Target housing resources and supportive services to people experiencing unsheltered homelessness. 5. Promote alignment and coordination across multiple systems of care to support people experiencing and at risk of homelessness.

They hope to create at least 547 housing opportunities by 2027 and reduce the number of people experiencing homelessness by 20% each year. There’s a special focus on reducing the numbers for vulnerable sub-populations like veterans and disabled people. According to info from the Homeless Management Information System, about 48% of people experiencing homelessness are disabled.

The plan also notes some of the inequalities in the homeless system of care. Black people make up 1% of Utahns, but over 10% of them are homeless; similarly, the Latino population makes up 14% of the population but 23% of those experiencing homelessness.

Utahns are urged to prepare for floods as temperatures rise

As the winter’s hefty snowfall starts to melt, the Utah Division of Emergency Management is urging Utahns to prepare for potential floods.

One of the best ways is to get flood insurance, as homeowners' insurance doesn’t cover flood damage. Flood insurance is offered through the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program or through authorized agents, and can protect proper owners, renters and businesses.

It’s good to get insurance sooner rather than later, as it usually takes 30 days for it to go into effect. In the meantime, clearing out places where moving water should be like ditches, gutters and streambeds can also help to avoid flooding.

Utahns can find the risk of flooding for their home here.

Utah will start monitoring dust pollution around the Great Salt Lake

The Utah Division of Air Quality will begin monitoring dust pollution around the Great Salt Lake this year. As the lake shrinks, more of the lakebed is exposed, which brings another source of dust and air pollution. The lakebed also often contains heavy metals and other pollutants that may be toxic to those who breathe them in.

Thanks to $230,000 in funding for the upcoming fiscal year, the Utah Division of Air Quality can now set up round-the-clock monitors to learn important info about this issue like how much dust is blowing, what cities are being most affected, and what kind of pollution is being carried around.

They hope to have the monitors up and running by July 1.

Duck is a general reporter and weekend announcer at UPR, and is studying broadcast journalism and disability studies at USU. They grew up in northern Colorado before moving to Logan in 2018, so the Rocky Mountain life is all they know. Free time is generally spent with their dog, Monty, listening to podcasts, reading or wishing they could be outside more.