Volunteers working to open Utah’s first hospice for homeless people

Posted at 3:15 PM, Apr 17, 2015
and last updated 2015-04-18 17:02:11-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah's first hospice for homeless people is expected to open soon, and volunteers are spending Friday and Saturday to get it ready for opening day.

"The INN Between" will occupy the former Guadalupe School Building at 344 S Goshen St. (1040 W).

Volunteers from Salt Lake Regional Medical Center are helping to clean and restore the new site, which will provide a place for some of the area’s most vulnerable people to die with dignity.

Debra Hampton, a chaplain for Salt Lake Regional Medical Center, said those who are homeless and chronically ill have a good chance of dying on the street, and about 50 such deaths occur in the area each year.

"There are temporary beds, but there's nothing permanent for them at end of life,” Hampton said.

Advocates for the homeless came up with a concept called the Inn Between--a hospice for the homeless who are chronically ill.

"At the 4th Street Clinic, we can look and diagnose if they're going to die within six months, then they have now a facility they can go to and spend the rest of their days in comfort and dignity, being cared for, having proper meals, a bed, a roof over their heads,” Hampton said.

Hampton said the concept became reality when the old Guadalupe School moved to a new location and the building became available.

In preparation for the scheduled grand opening in May, volunteers are spending Friday and Saturday painting, cleaning and organizing.

Once everything is ready, they can begin to admit patients.

Providing that service is not easy or cheap. Many of the workers are volunteers and the non-profit relies largely on donations. Friday, they received a big gift in the form of a $20,000 check from CIT Bank.

Organizers at The INN Between said the donation will go a long way to making their dream a reality.