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Road Home homeless shelter on Rio Grande Street to be sold to the state of Utah

Posted at 12:13 PM, Sep 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-25 19:43:01-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- The Road Home has a new landlord. Shelter the Homeless announced their decision Tuesday afternoon to sell the downtown shelter to the state of Utah for $4 million, set aside for homeless services.

Longtime homeless advocate, Pamela Atkinson, says it's a "win, win, win."

That sentiment was repeated several times at the press conference where Atkinson spoke, along with Shelter the Homeless President, Harris Simmons, which owns the Road Home, and Utah Lt. Governor, Spencer Cox.

"The appraisal was for $4.2 million and the state appropriated $4 million. We took into account that the state was able to provide cash," said Simmons.

However, the state was really the only potential buyer because Shelter the Homeless didn't open it up to other commercial buyers.

"Largely because the state we think is an important landlord in place during this interim period," said Simmons.

The transaction is a win for Shelter the Homeless because it provides them with cash they need to build the three new homeless resource centers. The state will also be able to provide the Road Home with the support they need before they close up shop this coming summer.

"It's going to help the road home deliver the quality services that our homeless friends need in order to make the transition from going to the shelter and/or being on the streets, into the resource centers," said Atkinson.

It's a win for Utah, which is obviously invested in the success of Operation Rio Grande and once the transition to the resource centers is complete, the state has an idea of how to use that building.

"There is a need to better preserve and display some the historic artifacts and art pieces that the state of Utah has in their possession," said Cox.

While no decisions have been made, if the legislature does decide to use the Road Home building as a place to house the state's artifacts, then the $4 million will essentially be a loan from the state.

"If they do use it for artifacts the legislature would repay the fund, that $4 million, and then we can use that ongoing for other homeless needs," said Cox.

It's also a win for the homeless, according to Atkinson, who says they've been expressing excitement over the new resource centers with updated services and the possibility of single room occupancies. Atkinson says despite the selfless work of the Road Home shelter and its employees, it's time for a change.

"It's 30 years old. It’s a little dark. It gets crowded at times, and even though they have great staff, it’s not a building that’s conducive to healing," says Atkinson.

The deal is still being finalized but expected to go through.

The Road Home is still on schedule to shut down in June 2019.