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Police recover about $30,000 worth of shopping carts; program offers secure storage to homeless

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Posted at 8:43 PM, Aug 05, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-05 22:45:32-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Police in Salt Lake City recovered a large number of shopping carts in a week-long operation, and the department said, thanks to a business and local volunteers, the area’s homeless population has a safe, secure alternative for storing their property.

Det. Cody Lougy, Salt Lake City Police Department, said they recovered the shopping carts during a week-long operation in the Pioneer Park area of downtown Salt Lake City.

“And these shopping carts are filled with belongings that are very dear to these individuals, the homeless population, so this is how they carry their property around,” he said. “So the city started a program up where we’re able to store their property safely and securely.”

Lougy said a business donated space in an empty building, and volunteers staff the location to allow the homeless population to drop off and pick up belongings at the site, which is in the area of 500 West and 300 South near the homeless shelter. He said the users can store things at the location for free and are able to access their belongings at several times throughout the day.

The storage spot offers security, protection from theft and some convenience. Lougy said it allows people to go to things like job interviews or medical appointments without worrying about the safety of their belongings.

“As you can imagine, it would be very, very difficult to try to secure a house or a job or go to a doctor’s appointment when you’re pushing everything you own in a shopping cart,” Lougy said.

The program helps the businesses, and the local homeless population.

“One, we’re helping out the businesses that have lost their shopping carts, and they’re very expensive: they range anywhere from $100 to $500 apiece,” Lougy said. “And [we] also help out that population to secure their property, and so those carts were returned back to those business owners.”

Lougy said the facility has about 100 storage bins so far, up from the 80 or so they started with. He said they have space at the location for about 250 bins and hope to see the program grow.

Those who are homeless and wish to use the storage service simply walk in and sign up, and there is no cost. Food, alcohol and illegal items are among the objects not permitted at the storage facility.