Council statement on disruption of November 12 Formal Meeting
"The City Council has been open to communication and hard conversations regarding homelessness and issues surrounding the closure of the Road Home, including a four-hour work session meeting held today, held with various members of the State, County, City Administration, and community organizations dedicated to helping people experiencing homelessness.
But it is hard to continue a conversation when there is no respect, yelling and disregard of the many efforts of all involved, including the Council, to help our less fortunate neighbors. We plead with you to have an orderly meeting to continue with the items that are part of the solutions to help our homeless neighbors.
The demands that are being requested are all things we agree with, but that we have little control over, at least by ourselves. We can certainly work with and ask UTA to collaborate with the resource centers to provide free fare. We have talked about looking into our criminal code. We are looking into all options to address this. Thank you.”
Read at Formal Council Meeting by Council Chair Charlie Luke
November 12 fact-finding session
The Council hosted a fact-finding session relating to homelessness and heard from multiple community organizations, Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson’s administration, and Mayor Jackie Biskupski’s administration. Discussion focused on: general rights of people experiencing homelessness from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU); clarification and discussion on State roles versus City roles related to homelessness issues; the Utah Strategic Plan on Homelessness, which addresses people who are unsheltered and live in camps; and an update on the housing program announced October 30 that includes the closure of The Road Home on December 1.
Watch the fact-finding discussion and read the Council staff report for more.
Documents related to fact-finding session
- 2017-18 City Budget: Homeless Services Funding
- 2018-19 City Budget: Homeless Services Funding
- State’s Strategic Plan on Homelessness
- State's Plan Media Handout
- Opinion piece from Jean Hill and Rob Wesemann
- Bloomberg Business article on a health insurance company providing housing to homeless
- ACLU Report on Rio Grande
- Boise News Release: Boise v Martin
- Salt Lake City Mayor's November 4 Press Release
- Utah Department of Workforce Services November 7 Press Release,
Salt Lake Valley Coalition to End Homelessness Steering Committee:
Presentations given at the fact-finding session
Council Statement regarding cold weather impact on people experiencing homelessness
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nov. 1, 2019
Salt Lake City Council Members have listened, with growing concern, to ongoing conversations about providing safe housing and shelter for people experiencing homelessness. The situation has intensified with record low temperatures threatening those whose only home is on the streets.
The existing Rio Grande shelter that has provided beds for years is still open for the coming weeks. This is a necessary short-term option that has long been identified as part of the transition plan. However, what happens if the closure date comes and solutions have not worked?
As the State, County, and Salt Lake City Mayor’s office presented Wednesday, plans and funding are focused on creating more housing options. The plans sound promising – it is our understanding they will make money available for unit improvements, deposits, and other rental payments. Making more units available statewide for people experiencing homelessness is the ultimate goal, both immediately while freezing temperatures threaten, and long term so that people can move into safe and stable housing for good.
The Council recognizes the importance of this issue and has made City resources available through our previous budget actions. Also, recognizing additional effort & coordination is required, we recently scheduled a fact-finding session on November 12th. At that meeting, we will ask for an update from stakeholders on the new State funding, progress for creating new housing, alternate plans if the shelter closes and there is still not enough housing / shelter available, and interactions with continuing homeless encampments.
We want to emphasize that we are facing a statewide issue that isn’t exclusive to Salt Lake City. Salt Lake City has been at the forefront of providing services for our residents and others who have come from throughout our state who are experiencing homelessness. This is our call to cities in Utah to join us in this massive effort and make resources and additional housing available for those less fortunate neighbors who are experiencing homelessness in each of your communities.