This Ogden homeless shelter may be a model for the new SLC shelters

Posted at 3:34 PM, Aug 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-09 20:19:37-04

OGDEN -- As plans move forward for the new homeless shelters, political and community leaders are looking at better ways to get people access to services to get them help.

At a meeting of the Collective Impact Steering Committee on Wednesday, community and political leaders discussed ways to get resources in the newer, smaller shelters being built in Salt Lake City.

"There will be no wrong doors as we think about it," said Harris Simmons, the board president of the non-profit Shelter the Homeless.

One idea discussed Wednesday is similar to one being implemented here in Ogden with success.

"We think the Lantern House model is a good one and one we’ve looked very closely at," Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams told FOX 13 on Wednesday.

Lantern House (formerly St. Anne's Center) operates a sort of "one-stop shop" for people experiencing homelessness. Those who enter the shelter doors meet with a caseworker who hooks them up with resources to get them on their feet so they don't have to stay there for very long.

"We may not have the resources, but we have access to the resources," said Jennifer Canter, Lantern House's director. "So we want them to understand we will help them and we can help them, but they have to actively participate in their own recovery or I can’t do anything for them."

Lantern House, homeless shelter that replaced St. Anne's. (FOX 13 file image)

In addition to 300 beds, Lantern House has an area for people with addictions to dry out. It also has a built-in medical clinic, a police office, and a kitchen. She even has space for a barber to come and give hair cuts and shaves.

There are rules to staying at Lantern House, Canter said.

"We are very strict and we are very structured, but we can help anyone who comes to us," she said as she gave a tour of the facility.

Canter said Lantern House has seen an increase in people coming to them for help. The shelter primarily serves those from Davis County to the Idaho border. She said she has seen more people from the Salt Lake City area.

"We have the ones that want to escape what’s going on down there and we have some that are fleeing because they are getting pushed out by the good work that is going on down there," she said, referring to the crisis in the Rio Grande neighborhood.

Mayor McAdams has visited Lantern House and is taking note of how they do things.

"We think it’s one that’s been successful and we’re hoping to learn from their successes and challenges," he said.

Canter said she believes the Rio Grande problems can be resolved.

"I think their problem can be solved," she said. "I do. They can’t do it overnight, but they have to start somewhere."

Anyone interested in donating to Lantern House can find more information here.