New Local Effort Aims To Get ‘100 More Housed’

Apr 29, 2019, 6:37 PM | Updated: 6:39 pm

SOUTH SALT LAKE, Utah — As Utah and Salt Lake City transition to a different model for homeless services, there’s a new push to house an additional 100 homeless people.

A combination of federal and state money is making this happen.

Advocates for the homeless are urging landlords to get involved.

Rick’s Story

“It’s a nice bathroom. I like this,” said Rick Dornick, as he showed us around his apartment.

You can tell, having his own space is priceless.

“Except for Trump Towers, I don’t know if I could have a better place,” he said, with a big laugh.

Dornick said he’s been in and out of homelessness for part of the last 37 years. He can’t really even remember how he ended up on that path more than three decades ago.

A year-and-a-half ago, Dornick moved into the Sharon Gardens apartments in South Salt Lake on a county housing voucher.

“I thought it was very fabulous,” he said. “I have shelter, especially in the winter.”

Having his own apartment with a bathroom, a kitchen, and a walk-in closet is a lot different than living on the streets or in a shelter.

More Opportunities

Right now, the state is making similar opportunities available for 100 more people experiencing long-term homelessness.

“We have to get people out of homelessness, and back on their feet,” said Lt. Governor Spencer Cox.

Three homeless resource centers are under construction. The new model will only work, he said, if permanent housing is an option, because there are fewer beds in the new system.

“The focus of that model is to get people to help they need as quickly as possible, and make sure that homelessness for them is brief,” said Cox.

So, homeless advocates set a goal to house 100 more people before the new resource centers open this summer. They’re focusing on those who been homeless the longest.

“Those are the ones we really want to focus on because if you can replace that person in that bed into housing, that can turn over 12 to 15 times over the course of the year,” said Jonathan Hardy, Utah Housing and Community Development Division Director.

The initiative is paid for with federal housing vouchers totaling $1 million, and $400,000 from the Utah Legislature appropriated $400,000 — money for new case managers to help the homeless, and to work with landlords who are hesitant.

“We desperately need you to help,” said Cox, making a plea to landlords. “We desperately need you to participate.”

The incentives for the landlords? Stable rent provided by vouchers, and case managers giving another layer of assistance.

“We have the vouchers, we have the tenants, and we just need more landlords to participate in this incredible program and give a big service back to the community,” said Cox.

Interested landlords are encouraged by the state to contact Dennis Faris with Housing connect at 801-284-4442 or DennisFaris@HousingConnect.org. More information about the transition to the new resource centers is available at homelessutah.org/resource-centers.

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New Local Effort Aims To Get ‘100 More Housed’