Sugar House business owners, residents concerned about new homeless shelter site

Posted at 9:22 PM, Dec 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-14 09:33:38-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- The first time Patrick Marino heard his business, Lit'l Scholars Learning Center, would soon be a new homeless resource center, was on the news Tuesday afternoon.

Marion's business is located on Simpson Avenue. It's one of four locations announced to be a new site for a homeless shelter in the city.

The other locations are:

  • 275 W. High Ave. (1400 South)
  • 131 E. 700 South
  • 648 W. 100 South

"I don’t know what the city has authority to do or anything like that but displacing 150 kids from childcare would be totally unethical," says Marino.

However, Marino doesn't understand how it's possible, considering his lease doesn't end until December 2019.

Next door, the owner of Dancing Cranes, Carlene Carlson, has similar concerns.

"The gut reaction is a little bit of concern because we have not been told any of the details," Carlson said.

Businesses were blindsided and homeowners like Chris Sveiven are furious.

"I've seen the homeless shelters downtown. It's a nightmare. It looks like refugee camps," Sveiven said.

Sveiven just moved into the neighborhood with his wife and 18-month-old son a year ago. He spent a fortune remodeling and doesn't understand why the city would choose to put a homeless center in this up-and-coming neighborhood.

"This is a nice, safe happy neighborhood and I don’t understand why they would want to introduce a problem to an area full of families," Sveiven said.

Some are worried about their families.

"It's just shocking to me that this is happening and I didn’t hear one word about it. Nothing," Svieven said.

Others are worried about the future of their business.

"We're quite upset about that. I know our parents are. We’ve had parents calling us and wondering what’s going on," Marino said.

However, everyone shares the same frustration wondering why they weren't notified before the locations were chosen.

One neighbor is already planning to start a petition to prevent the city from putting the homeless center in Sugarhouse.