Utah County Woman Leads Effort To Get Water To Homeless Camps

Jul 31, 2021, 10:21 PM

SALT LAKE CITY — Homeless encampments have filled the streets of Salt Lake City this summer as temperatures rage.

During a week of triple digit heat, one Utah County woman was inspired by a friend to raise money for water.

“Water is life and they don’t have it. These individuals don’t have this basic need met,” said Kate Benson of Lehi. “We can do something to help.”

Benson then put out a request for donations to her neighbors.

“Within a few hours, we had raised $300,” said Benson.

With pallets and gallons of water in tow, she headed to three different encampments in Salt Lake City.

“Over and over again, I was humbled by their graciousness! They were so happy we were able to give them water,” said Benson. “Their homes are uprooted almost weekly. These homeless camps have been abated and moved around so many times. There was one in a completely open space: no shade, dusty and hot by the railroad tracks — they have no relief.”​

The 2021 Pandemic Point in Time reported 3,565 Utahns experiencing homelessness, with 2,410 sheltered and 1,155 unsheltered.

With hundreds living on the streets, crews from the Health Department abate camps when they become hazardous or polluted.

Salt Lake officials have put in place public transport to overnight shelters and even a Kayak Court that brings the justice court to the banks of the Jordan River. But no organized clean water faucets or filling stations are available.

“There is nowhere for them to find clean water,” said Benson. “Businesses won’t welcome them. Public water taps near camps don’t exist.”

Benson said the need is great.

According to the 2021 Utah State Annual Report on Homelessness, heat-related homeless illnesses and deaths are on the rise.

“We can’t close our eyes and be ignorant to it because it’s there. They are people,” Benson continued. “I have found myself with mental illness, thinking that could have been me, easily. It could be our fathers, mothers, sisters or brothers. It’s time to show compassion. We are here on earth to see each other’s souls.”

Benson has created the “Water is LIFE” campaign, which raises money to supply water to the hundreds of Utahns living on the streets.

Those looking to help hydrate those in need can donate at this *GoFundMe page.

If you know someone who needs shelter, call (801) 990-9999 to be connected with an intake specialist.  

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Deanie Wimmer

In search of safe schools: How Utah schools updated security in the wake of Uvalde

KSL surveyed Utah schools based on the findings of the "Robb Report," Texas lawmakers' analysis of what went wrong in Uvalde, to learn what changes have been made in our state.
13 hours ago
motorcycle fatal...
Larry D. Curtis

Collision with Jeep kills motorcyclist in Duchesne County

A motorcyclist was killed Thursday morning in a collision on state Route 87 in Duchesne County.
13 hours ago
Tamara Vaifanua

Utah to celebrate 10 years of Pacific Island Heritage Month

We are celebrating Utah Pacific Island Heritage Month. This year is a special one - commemorating the official declaration made 10 years ago.
13 hours ago
Emergency lights...
Eliza Pace

Man arrested in hit-and-run that killed 11-year-old boy

West Valley City Police Department announced an arrest of a man in the hit-and-run that left an 11-year-old boy dead.
13 hours ago
Save Money - First Time Homebuyer...
Tamara Vaifanua

Experts advise teens how to prepare economically in this time of uncertainty

One expert says inflation will most likely impact the class of 2023 as they look to either continue their education or find a job.
13 hours ago
FILE: Back-to-school shopping (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)...
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage

Gephardt Busts Inflation: Saving money on back-to-school supplies even with higher prices

With inflation running amok this year, parents are tackling big price hikes on top of the stress. Fortunately, there are ways they can still save money.
13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
cyber security through multi factor authentication setup...
Les Olson IT

How multi factor authentication setup helps companies stay safe

Multi factor authentication (MFA) setup is an important security measure that every company should implement for their workers. It’s also wise to install it for your personal and home accounts.
Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Address Bar of internet browser shows internet access...

Utah voters 50+ support increased access to Internet

The AARP surveyed Utah voters aged 50 plus about internet access and if they support the expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas currently lacking it.
Utah County Woman Leads Effort To Get Water To Homeless Camps