State Tax Return Allows Donations To Utah Homeless Fund
MIDVALE, Utah – The pandemic has challenged many Utah families and devastated those experiencing homelessness. Governor Spencer Cox and Pamela Atkinson came together today to ask for our help funding homeless outreach statewide.
“I’m just proud of the generosity of Utahns,” said Pamela Atkinson, the community advocate for whom the state homeless trust fund is named. “When you give to that homeless trust fund, you give $3. That $3, alongside all of the other contributions, it just makes a difference. Even one pair of socks makes a difference.”
Atkinson is arguably Utah’s greatest champion for those experiencing homelessness. She said so many individuals and families experiencing homelessness have suffered during the pandemic, in a very expensive housing market.
“There’s been a great deal of need during the pandemic, and I’ve met homeless people that I’ve never ever met before,” she said.
Atkinson and Governor Spencer Cox dropped off donated clothing, diapers, and children’s toys Tuesday at the Midvale Family Resource Center, operated by the Road Home.
“Our homeless friends have really suffered through this,” said Atkinson.
They thanked Utahns for past contributions to the Pamela Atkinson Homeless Trust Fund and encouraged us to check off that box on our tax returns and give three dollars, or as generously as we can.
“When I look back at the past year, I am in awe of what the providers have done for our homeless friends and particularly the families here,” said the community advocate.
“We’re always, constantly trying to find a better way to help people get back on their feet and we have so many incredible partners,” said Cox.
The homeless resource centers in Salt Lake County and homeless outreach statewide are funded with those contributions.
“People who are experiencing homelessness are already in crisis, probably the biggest crisis of their life, and the stress and the trauma that the pandemic brings just adds another layer,” said Michelle Flynn, executive director of the Road Home.
In the six months from July to December, the Road Home provided emergency shelter to 243 families including 461 children. They helped 107 families move from homelessness into housing while another 43 families were diverted to another safe place to stay, avoiding a stay at the shelter.
“The Road Home is working to end family homelessness and helping families into a permanent home,” said Flynn. “This restores safety, and hope, and is the long-term foundation for stability and well-being.”
During the pandemic, providers carry on with the day-to-day operations of case management, counseling, job training, and helping to provide shelter while mitigating the spread of the virus at the same time.
The homeless resource centers stay full, Flynn said but they find a place for everyone.
“We still make sure that any family that comes to us does have a place to stay if they don’t have anywhere else safe to go,” she said.
Utahns can help by donating to the Pamela Atkinson Homeless Trust Fund on their 2020 state tax forms or online.
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