LOCAL NEWS

Kaysville addresses concerns over homeless shelter discussion

Feb 5, 2024, 11:05 PM | Updated: Feb 6, 2024, 5:09 pm

KAYSVILLE — Citizens are voicing concerns over a potential homeless shelter, and it has prompted the city to set the record straight with residents.

The Davis County Winter Overflow Task Force is looking at opening the first county-sanctioned homeless shelter, and some people aren’t happy to hear that the task force has talked about a county emissions testing center in Kaysville as an option.

At the Kaysville City Council meeting last week, people expressed worries and what-ifs during public comment.

“We are against this process and the way it is happening,” said one woman.

A man who stepped up to the podium talked about the emissions building’s location near Interstate 15, and wondered if it would lead to an increase in panhandling at those onramps and offramps.

“I foresee that that’s going to pose a tremendous safety issue,” he said.

A second woman was concerned over activity she argued would be associated with a shelter.

“Personal property being stolen, illicit drug use, sexual assault, and the spread of illness and infections,” she listed off.

About the process

Kaysville Mayor Tamara Tran listened to the comments. She sits on the task force that is identifying a shelter location. Ahead of public comment, she explained the task force’s objective and the logistics of the process.

“The state has a mandate for us to follow. It is to come up with a Code Blue and a winter response plan,” she said to KSL TV. “As a county, we’ve really, really worked hard to kind of collaborate and figure out how do we best respond to this to this requirement.”

Right now, she described how homeless services in Davis County are almost exclusively handled by private organizations and nonprofits. She said Davis Behavioral Health is one of their biggest partners.

After lawmakers passed HB499 last year (mandating the winter response plan), Davis County formed the Winter Overflow Task Force to look for a long-term, county-sanctioned solution to help the unsheltered population.

Tran said seven city mayors sit on the task force, as well as a county commission and other county officials.

They have asked for millions in state funding, but if the state doesn’t grant that, Tran said Davis County and the cities within it will need to pay for the services.

“And so, the first option is looking at what the county owns in terms of availability and space,” she said. “They have talked about some senior centers. There are three in Davis County. They’ve talked about maybe the fairgrounds.”

The fairgrounds and senior centers were discounted as options, she indicated, and the idea emerged for the emissions testing building at 20 N. 600 West in Kaysville.

“The building might be physically available, but is it in the best position? Is it in the best location to actually help solve the problem?” Tran asked, of what the task force needs to consider.

Concerns and questions raised

Kaysville City Manager Jaysen Christensen said the idea has generated a lot of concern and questions from the community.

“Whenever you put a facility like this in a neighborhood, people, of course, are going to be concerned about what the impact is going to be. Will people be wandering around the neighborhoods during the day, or is crime going to be an issue?” he said.

Christensen said they don’t think the emissions testing center is a great location because it’s not near other services or transit. It’s important to note, however, that Kaysville City does not have a final say on the task force’s decision.

He’s hoping the task force considers other options, like a winter response bus that he and Tran said was brought up by a Kaysville city council member.

“It’s a bus that drives around and it picks up unsheltered people, and it offers them a place to take shelter from the cold,” he said. “It really solves a lot of issues.”

He said cities in other parts of the country have implemented something similar. Tran explained that the buses have fold-down beds and in some cases, bathrooms.

The buses drive around all night to different locations where people are camping. In the morning, the buses drop people off where they need to go.

It’s just an idea, but that’s the thing Tran wants people to know: These are all merely possibilities that the task force is considering.

She said funding from the state and any potential amendments to HB499 this legislative session will have an impact on how they proceed. They’re waiting to see what happens in the next month as the session finishes up.

“The goal of the task force is to really come up with some sort of a solution that will make a difference in our community,” she said, adding, “and we’re all committed to doing that.”

Kaysville has published a Frequently Asked Questions page about the task force and the shelter selection process.


An earlier version of this article identified the task force as the Davis County Homeless Task Force, which was the name given to KSL TV. It was since been corrected.

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Kaysville addresses concerns over homeless shelter discussion