Northern Utah community comes together to help shelter the homeless

Nov 28, 2023, 6:53 PM | Updated: Nov 29, 2023, 5:57 am

NORTH LOGAN, Cache County — Counties like Cache and Box Elder may not have as significant homeless problems as cities along the Wasatch Front, but local leaders say it’s still important to help the dozens of homeless there who may need assistance.

That’s why Tuesday night and Wednesday, the Dan Gyllenskog Veteran’s Resource Center in North Logan is open from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. to anyone who wants to come in from the cold.

There is already the William A. Burnard Warming Center that opened last December, but it doesn’t come open again until Monday of next week.

As temperatures dropped over the weekend, members of the Bear River Local Homeless Council, which covers Box Elder, Cache and Rich counties, decided something needed to be done.

Luckily, volunteers, including some from the Veteran’s Resource Center, were willing to work together quickly to get the center open starting last night.

Anyone who needs the help can come in, no questions asked, Tuesday night and Wednesday. There’s a room set up in the back — nothing elaborate, just a place to stay warm and access to restrooms.


Sandi Goodlander, vice chair of the Bear River Local Homeless Council, explained his motivation to help those in need.

“We just felt so compelled that we wanted to try and help,” Goodlander said. “How sad is that, that there’s people outside without shelter in this kind of weather?”

Goodlander said that the task appeared daunting at first, but with help from so many local volunteers, they were able to get the job done.

“It turned out to be pretty easy once I got the right help,” Goodlander said.

Goodlander praised the commitment of the volunteers who came together to serve shelterless members of the community. In all, about 58 households took part in the project.

“They were here all night long,” she said. “And so that’s pretty amazing. And they just said, ‘Sure, tell me where you want me and I’ll be there.’”

Wallace Odd, president of the Rocky Mountain Veterans Center Board, also commented on the effort and the readiness of volunteers to assist those in need.

“There are a lot of veterans that need help,” Odd said, “and we are members of the community and we want to help support our community and our veterans.”

With a Code Blue Alert over Thanksgiving weekend, Goodlander said she had a hard time sleeping, worrying about those stuck out in the cold.

As Goodlander said, “There are no requirements. Anybody is welcome. Anyone who needs a warm place to be is welcome to come here tonight.”

Odd said that the dramatic fall in nighttime temperatures made it clear that something needed to be done.

“The temperature dropped and that was what we needed to hear,” he said. “And we just stepped in.”


With inversion making the valleys colder, the urgency to help grows greater. Utah’s new Code Blue protocol requires certain counties to expand shelter capacity by 35% when temperatures drop below 15 degrees at night.

As Goodlander explained, because of Cache County’s smaller population, among other factors, they’re not required to follow the protocol. But local leaders decided they wanted to anyway.

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Northern Utah community comes together to help shelter the homeless