LOCAL NEWS

Homeless Given Notice To Vacate Downtown Areas For Cleanup

Dec 10, 2019, 1:09 PM | Updated: 7:18 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah –  Residents dealing with homelessness are being asked to vacate parts of downtown for cleanup.

It’s an ongoing effort by the County Health Department to prevent health risks. Some people are speaking out, saying relocation is not a solution.

Clean up efforts take place weekly, and those who are homeless are given notice 24 hours in advance to gather their belongings or it will be thrown out.

Tuesday’s clean up took place along 500 South and 300 East near the Salt Lake City Library.

“We cover the whole valley and conduct these cleanups whenever we see things that might be an environmental hazard, ” said Nicholas Rupp, spokesperson for the Salt Lake County Health Department.

A large portion of the trash is due to people living on the streets.

“I don’t really disagree with the city,” said Tony, a homeless man who asked to be identified by his first name only. “We shouldn’t have people living on the sidewalks. There needs to be a solution.”

Tony said he doesn’t want to leave permanently because being downtown is convenient.

“They’ve moved the new shelter out to 3300 South and 11th West,” he said. “That’s like the middle of nowhere practically. It’s like they are trying to hide the homeless – we’re an eyesore or something.”

Salt Lake City resident Susan Keen, who helps the homeless population, said she thinks more needs to be done – from housing and more beds in resource centers to allowing folks to take their dogs with them to shelters and a more frequent trash pick-up.

“Usually the green garbage bins are totally full, and they only pick them up once a week,” she said. “So if they were interested in hygiene and keeping rats and things out, the simple thing to do would be a garbage pick-up daily.”

County health department officials said as of now it’s unlikely there will be more than one trash pick-up per week. However, the department does evaluations every few months to see how resources can be used more efficiently.

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Homeless Given Notice To Vacate Downtown Areas For Cleanup