Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski and the Salt Lake City Council announced four sites for homeless shelters across the city. The sites will be located at 653 East Simpson Avenue, 275 West High Avenue, 131 East 700 South, and 648 West 100 South. Representatives Briscoe, Chavez-Houck, and Romero issued the following statements about the sites within their communities.
Representative Joel Briscoe:
“I am proud to live in a city that is willing to step up and help those in the greatest need. I am grateful that the Governor and Speaker Hughes have voiced their commitment, and look forward to working with them and other members of the legislature to provide the funding to make the necessary resources available. We must also listen to the citizens of Salt Lake City as we work to make sure there is a smooth transition to these new shelters.
Homelessness is not unique to Salt Lake City. Although the city has taken responsibility for these programs, legislators and other city leaders in the state should recognize and fund the programs that need support to prevent homelessness in all areas of Utah. We need to focus on the whole issue, ensuring affordable housing, getting people in homes, providing assistance to keep people from evictions and foreclosures, and reducing barriers to employment. People in our state are struggling, and we are working to end that.”
Representative Rebecca Chavez-Houck:
“The new sites are a vital part of how our state will build a culture of success and sustainability in the face of extensive population growth and difficulties that often accompany that growth. The city has affirmed that uncertainty is not an option, and that they are ready to provide those services and supports to ensure that our city and our state is moving forward through this very difficult and likely controversial decision. I appreciate the work that has been done so far.
But the solution to addressing homelessness requires much more than rapid housing and emergency shelter. We are doomed to fail if we don’t tackle the root causes, which will require long term, extensive investment from all levels of government in integrated health services. I, and other local legislators whose constituents have been the most immediately affected in recent years, call to our colleagues to ensure that this new initiative succeeds. We have collectively taken the first step within the past year or so, but this concerted effort requires years of investment and commitment moving forward. People from all over the state are part of this population. We all need to commit to address the challenges they encounter.”
Representative Angela Romero:
“I value the hard work of the Mayor and the City Council on providing resources to our most vulnerable. They have recognized the growing needs and have stepped up as leaders and examples. As we move forward, legislators and other local elected officials will have a positive model to mirror as we address this statewide issue. It is the legislature’s turn to now commit to funding mental health, substance abuse, and many other programs to ensure success. I look forward to working with legislative colleagues, members of my community, and city officials as plans to develop these sites progress.”
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