Salt Lake City officials to announce sites for 4 new homeless shelters Tuesday

Posted at 4:14 PM, Dec 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-12 23:25:30-05

SALT LAKE CITY --  Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski said Monday they will announce the sites for four new homeless resource centers Tuesday afternoon in a 1 p.m. press conference.

According to the Salt Lake City Council, the new resource centers will provide overnight shelter, daytime amenities and other services for vulnerable members of the community.

"The four resource centers and siting locations is controversial, is difficult and it's important," said David Litvack, Mayor Biskupski's Deputy Chief of Staff.

Part of the goal is to decentralize the services for the homeless into more specialized locations. Litvack says one site, for example, may serve homeless single women, catering its social services to their specific needs. However, push-back is expected from neighbors, nervous about what having a homeless resource center will do to their communities.

“We have to educate and inform the neighborhoods that are being looked at. And give people a chance to air their anxieties and concerns. It’s their neighborhood," said Pamela Atkinson, an advocate for the homeless.

The city has already entered into purchase agreements for all four of the locations, and Litvack expect the sites will not change even if there is push-back from nervous neighbors. He hopes, instead, to get those neighbors involved in the process.

"The public knows that they will have a voice as we move forward with design...a community voice with how these resource centers are operated and how they are partners with the community moving forward," Litvack said.

The announcement for the new sites is scheduled for 1:00 PM at the Salt Lake City council chambers.

Each site will be capped at 150 beds, though the initial plan called for two locations with a larger capacity.

The announcement comes less than a week after a protest at Mayor Biskupski's office, where activists called on the mayor to create overflow shelters for the homeless, especially as temperatures grow colder.

Earlier this year, the Utah State Legislature identified $27 million for homeless service facilities and services, and since that time city and county leaders have been working to identify sites for the new resource centers.