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Councilwoman Adams praises community after homeless shelter plan removed

Apr 03, 2017 09:52AM ● Published by Kelly Cannon

Salt Lake City Councilwoman Lisa Adams addresses the Sugar House Community Council about the recent announcement that there will be no homeless shelter in Sugar House. (Kelly Cannon/City Journals)

By Kelly Cannon | kelly@mycityjournals.com

Salt Lake City Councilwoman Lisa Adams praised the Sugar House community for its diligence and work in helping to revoke a plan for a homeless shelter on Simpson Avenue. Adams spoke to the Sugar House Community Council during its monthly meeting on March 1 at Sprague Library.

“I kept telling the Simpson (Avenue) neighbors that I wasn’t going to give up hope that things could change,” Adams said.

Simpson Avenue was one of four locations chosen by Salt Lake City as a future site for a homeless shelter. This resulted in an uproar from neighbors in Sugar House. Salt Lake officials announced on Feb. 28 they were backing out of the Sugar House site, citing the expense.

Adams praised the Sugar House community for its involvement and its candor in opposing the homeless shelter.

“I want to say that I don’t care what anyone else says. I feel like this community raised their voices. I would say they raised their voices 98 percent of the time respectfully. There were people who were great who said, ‘We will embrace this if it comes,’” Adams said “I really appreciated that side of it. There were also people who said ‘We don’t want it and here are the reasons why,’ and they were really sound reasons.”

Adams felt those who opposed the homeless shelter did so not out of feelings of “not in my back yard” but were driven by facts and provable reasons.

“I really feel like it made a huge difference to have members of the community identify what the problems were with this decision and make the case. I think that at the end of the day, the facts won,” Adams said. “There really wasn’t justification for a shelter on Simpson (Avenue) and if it wasn’t going to be a family shelter, there was no way there was going to be support for it from anybody as far I know.”

Adams also praised the members of her district for their politeness and respectfulness during debates and arguments about the homeless shelter plans.

“I commend all of you for that. I also appreciated that there were people who said, ‘I’m not happy about this but tell me about how I can make it work,’” Adams said. “I think that demonstrates that we have a pretty amazing community.”

Moving forward this year, Adams said the Salt Lake City Council has identified priorities for the year. She said they renewed the two things that were also a focus last year.

“First one was housing, having affordable housing and working towards that,” Adams said. “The second was dealing with the homeless issue and if you’ve delved into it at all, you know how complex it is and you know there isn’t just one, easy, straight fix for anybody. There are a lot of parts to this.”

The other priority for the council will be streets and infrastructure. Entitled “Sidewalk to Sidewalk,” the council is working on figuring out a way to fund street repair so the city isn’t relying on the “crumbs” of capital improvement projects.

“If that’s the way we do it, our streets will deteriorate and deteriorate and then they’ll do a little duct tape job and it’s not working,” Adams said. “We’ve delving into looking at bonding and different ways to have our streets in the kind of condition they need to be.”

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