The city, the county, and the state discuss homelessness

Posted at 10:21 PM, Feb 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-14 00:21:43-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Two meeting regarding homelessness took place Monday night.

One of them, at Salt Lake Community College, included leaders from the city, county and state.

It was the first the attending leaders were all under the same roof to discuss the issue since four new Salt Lake City homeless resource center sites were announced late last year.

"We are all sitting down together trying to work through this and everybody is committed to finding solutions to helping to improve the challenges," said Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams. "We know it's going to take a little bit of work from each of us."

The attending political leaders say it's time to fix the homeless epidemic once and for all.

"I'm just pissed okay, I am, I'm angry about it," said Speaker Greg Hughes.

Hughes said it's not fair for the state to just sit back and watch as downtown Salt Lake City deteriorates.

"This is not a city issue and this is not a county issue it's a state issue if you are a public servant it's an issue," said Hughes.

Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski agreed she needs the state's help because she said the problem isn't so much homelessness, but the drugs and the crime that feed off the vulnerable part of the community.

"This is about the criminal justice system, it's about how we separate the criminal element from those who are experiencing homelessness," said Biskupski.

Earlier in the night, the second meeting was held at the Sprague Library in Sugar House.

Members of the community discussed a zoning amendment that needs to take place for the city to move forward with the Simpson Avenue homeless site. They said every detail counts when you live right next door.

"We are really concerned about funding, we are really concerned about population, we are really concerned about size, what's appropriate for a neighborhood that's entirely residential, we really feel like the city needs to come up and start talking to us so we can figure out what will be appropriate," said resident Chris Sveiven.