Inside the new Homeless Resource Center in South Salt Lake
Nov 19, 2019 01:39PM
By Bill Hardesty
The health clinic operated by the Fourth Street Clinic in the new 1000 West Homeless Resource Center. (Bill Hardesty/City Journals)
By Bill Hardesty | [email protected]
As of Nov. 7, all major hurdles to opening the 1000 West Homeless Resource Center (HRC) are resolved. The planning commission approved the conditional use permit (CUP) as amended, and it was executed after the meeting when Preston Cochrane, executive director of Shelter the Homeless (STH), signed the CUP.
This means that starting the week of Nov. 18, men will be transferred to the new facility from The Road Home shelter in downtown Salt Lake City. Once that is completed by the end of the month, the downtown center will be demolished.
Laura Vernon, the commission chair, complimented both city staff and the applicant for working so hard these past few months to resolve differences.
In July, Mayor Cherie Wood was using the term "nonnegotiable" referring to certain conditions. In turn, Cochrane was threatening to have the state take over the property, which, in the opinion of some legal experts, would negate the need for a CUP.
"The final document is true to our intent," Wood said.
Wood often mentioned the city's intent was always for a safe environment for the HRC residents and a safe community for city residents.
Shelter the Homeless is the owner of the HRC and The Road Home will operate the facility.
On the first floor, there is one public entrance opening to an intake area along with bike storage and residential storage. On the north side, in-kind donations can be delivered.
Within the center, there is a common area and large dining area. Three meals a day will be available to residents. The food will be provided by Catholic Community Services.
Also, on the first floor is a health services clinic run by the Fourth Street Clinic and a barber shop. There is a large case-management area across from health services.
On the second floor are classrooms and eight sleeping areas with a mixture of single and bunk beds. There is also a balcony that overlooks the Jordan River. On the east side, there is a laundry, computer lab and a community room.
On the roof are over 400 solar energy panels projected to save $1.2 million over the next 20 years. Auric Energy partnered with Rocky Mountain Power to make this savings possible.
The average stay will be 90 days. There are both interior and exterior cameras.
The ribbon was cut for the largest and last of three HRCs on Nov. 5. The other two HRCs are in Salt Lake City. This HRC is for 300 men only and is 77,461 square feet.
During the ceremony, Cochrane mentioned that this new model on focusing on housing started five years ago.
"We want to be a trusted neighbor of the community," Cochrane said.
Becky Pickle, The Road Home president elect, mentioned that having Homeless Resource Centers are only one part of the puzzle and that we need to resolve the housing crisis in Utah. She called upon the state legislature to provide more money for low-income housing.
"We want to be a great neighbor for South Salt Lake," Pickle said.
She concluded her comments with a passionate thank you to The Road Home staff and volunteers and pleaded for others to get involved.
"Deeply grateful for the privilege to be involved," said Matthew Minkevitch, The Road Home’s executive director in his prepared remarks.
He mentioned it was not an easy lift to open the HRC and pledged to work with all parties along the way.
"We are committed to helping people find a place they can call home," Minkevitch concluded.
Mayor Wood talked about the 80-year history of cultural, ethnic and religious diversity in South Salt Lake.
"We have always welcomed people in need," Wood said.
She mentioned the dedicated HRC officers within the SSL police department that will help provide a safe environment for center residents and the greater community.
Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson was the final speaker. She observed that it took vision, dedication and caring to make the HRCs happen. She teared up as she spoke about the high level of community involvement and the importance of finding the best place for HRC residents.