Road Home Shelter Officially Closes As Focus Shifts To New Resource Centers
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The Road Home shelter officially closed Thursday as community leaders shifted their focus to three new homeless resource centers.
“The downtown shelter is now closed for services. We will no longer be providing shelter at the downtown facility from now on,” said Michelle Flynn, interim director at The Road Home.
As wintry weather returns to the Wasatch Front this week, the transition into the new homeless resource centers is nearly complete.
The third center, a 300-bed men’s shelter, opened this week in South Salt Lake City. and men have been moving in. Staff and volunteers have been helping men settle in as they transitioned away from The Road Home shelter downtown.
“Making sure they have a meal, getting them assigned to a bed, getting to know the new facility and really being able to sit down and take a deep breath,” Flynn said.
This plan has been put together in the last three years and now, it is coming together. While many in the community were skeptical that there will be enough beds and enough resources for everyone who needs them, the partners in this transition process said no one will be left out in the cold.
Pamela Atkinson, a community advocate for the homeless, said people in need are quickly getting used to the new system and centers.
“One of the things about all three new resource centers, they are conducive to healing,” Atkinson said. “That’s what happened this week and men were saying I think I can get better here.”
Over the last few weeks, some people expressed fears that the system is already overcapacity.
Protesters demanded The Road Home shelter be kept open until April to make sure that nobody sleeps in the cold. The new men’s shelter is nearly at capacity but officials said the coordinated intake system should help everyone trying to access services for the homeless find the right path in the system.
“We have room for everybody, and we’re making sure through outreach, and being down there, that we open the doors and we welcome people either into the overflow or the warming center,” Atkinson said.
In addition to the three new homeless resource centers, the St. Vincent de Paul Dining Hall is a nighttime overflow shelter. The Weigand Homeless Resource Center will also be open overnight as a warming center to ensure that no one spends the night outside.
“All of those resources are intended to be temporary in nature,” said David Litvack with the Salt Lake City Mayor’s Office. “The real solution to working with individuals experiencing homelessness and any homelessness is housing.”
The new system is focused on moving people into housing, not long stays in shelters. There are more resources available to help people find the right path out of homelessness.
More than two dozen landlords have responded to a call for action in the last couple of weeks to provide housing for the new system, making 73 units available. A dozen people have already moved into new homes and 34 more are already in the pipeline. Transition leaders said they still need more studio and one-bedroom apartments.
The Geraldine E. King Women’s Center and the Gail Miller Resource Center opened earlier this fall; those facilities are regularly near or at capacity.
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