Hundreds give feedback on proposed locations for homeless shelter in Salt Lake County

Posted at 10:09 PM, Mar 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-23 08:31:24-04

SALT LAKE CITY - With the final deadline for Salt Lake County to select the third and final homeless resource center, tensions were high as hundreds gathered to weigh in.

"We are important," shouted one person in attendance. "My voice, and my neighbor's voice, need to be heard."

Hundreds turned out to voice their thoughts; in fact, so many people came out that four overflow rooms and a hallway were used to accommodate the crowd.

Each person was given two minutes to voice their concerns to not only Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, but to the full 16-member committee that will select the resource center's final location. The committee was named Wednesday evening just hours before the final public meeting.

"It's nice to see that they come from a diverse background and experience," said Steve Huseman, a South Salt Lake Resident who showed up to voice his concerns.

Nearly everyone who spoke Wednesday night offered an objection to either a city, or a specific location. Prior to Wednesday, six locations were announced. Three of those are in South Salt Lake and three are in West Valley City.

But Wednesday afternoon, the County released a seventh location, which is also in South Salt Lake.

"That's a perfect example of them rushing to meet a deadline," said Travis Massey, a South Salt Lake resident and business owner. "Personally, I think that Ben McAdams is a byproduct of a terrible situation. I think the problem starts at the state legislature and them trying to rush through what wasn’t a well thought-out plan to start with."

The timeline Massey speaks of is a March 30 deadline that was given to the county less than a month ago. After two locations were pulled from Salt Lake City in February, Salt Lake County was given an opportunity to find an additional location, and promised $10 million as long as they did so by March 30th.

The rushed timeline is what seemed to be on many people's minds Wednesday night. As the two-hour meeting wrapped up, residents felt like the meeting went better than previous gatherings.

"I felt like tonight he was listening," Huseman said of Mayor Ben McAdams. "At a couple of other city meetings, I felt like it was just an opportunity for people to yell and shout and get their frustration out.”