Utah’s micro-shelter pilot program gets extension to help homeless

Mar 27, 2024, 9:36 PM | Updated: 10:53 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s Gov. Spencer Cox signed several bills this session that are aimed at helping solve the state’s homelessness issue. One will mean a micro-shelter pilot program will stay in place for at least six more months.

The community is called Switchpoint. Right now, it houses 50 people who were previously on the streets with the goal of helping them transition out of homelessness.

Some of the numbers are promising. The founder said they’ve successfully helped 37 residents get full-time employment, and 20% have moved to permanent or supportive housing.

They feel good that they can keep the micro-shelters running for at least six more months.

State leaders announce more shelters, beds available to homeless people this winter

“It is a good feeling that we don’t have to worry about where we’re gonna put our head at night,” Kimberlie Lambie said. “It’s amazing, like getting us into housing and get all the resources that we need.”

Lambie and her fiance have been at Switchpoint for about a week. Their hope is their next stop will be a place of their own. That’s part of the goal here, where there are enforced rules that include bag checks, curfews, and a strict no-drug policy. At first, Michael McCoy was worried that it was too structured. Not anymore.

“The structure has done a lot of good,” McCoy said. He now sees the staff is helping the residents learn self-reliance.

“They’re trying to help us build the life skills that we need to succeed after here,” McCoy said.

Carol Hollowell is the CEO of Switchpoint, the non-profit that runs this place. She was in Tooele today when Governor Cox announced the good news.

“We did receive word that we have the funding for another six months,” Hollowell said to KSLTV.

She feels the pilot program that started last year is proving to be a success. The micro shelters are 75 square feet, with a heater and a lock on the door. Her goal is to help the tenants transition out of homelessness.

“It’s turned out better than we expected,” which she credits to a safe, stable environment. She said that stability empowers those who are here to become independent.

“How do you do that if you’re sleeping on the street and you really don’t sleep very good at night when you’re on the street?”  Hollowell said.

Purchasing the micro-shelters and getting them up and running cost $1.8 million last year. The hope is they can bring that cost way down now that they’ve laid the groundwork.

If you would like more information on Switchpoint, visit switchpointcrc.org.

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Utah’s micro-shelter pilot program gets extension to help homeless