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Ribbon cut on soon-to-open transformative housing project in Tooele

Posted at 8:53 PM, Nov 20, 2023

TOOELE, Utah — The old Harris Elementary School in Tooele has been transformed into housing for those who are homeless and at risk of being homeless.

"Up until about three years ago, Tooele County did not have a shelter so to speak of," said DeAnn Christiansen, the executive development director with the Tooele County Housing Authority.

On Monday, the ribbon was cut on Harris Community Village, which includes the Harris Community Resource Center.

"We'll have 44 shelter beds, as well as 66 permanent supportive housing apartments," said Christiansen

The Tooele County Housing Authority is the owner of the property, but Switchpoint will be the provider of the services offered.

"We have a soup kitchen in it, it will have a food pantry, a 24/7 childcare center, case management," said Carol Hollowell, the CEO of Switchpoint.

Hollowell says the program was about three years in the making.

"This was a $31 million project," she said. "It came from several sources, so today when they were talking about the different pots of money, a LIHTC is a Low-Income Tax Credit project, so Goldman Sachs bought those tax credits through the state, so that's a bulk of your money."

Funding also came from the State of Utah, Tooele County, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and numerous private donations.

City and state officials turned out on Monday to celebrate the opening of this project.

"When you look at the population, which is a little less than 200,000 as a county, we have over 100 people who are homeless, it is a high percentage," said Hollowell.

24-year-old Gabriel Crawford has been homeless for the last four years.

"I have been at the Switchpoint Tooele CRC Homeless Shelter on Vine Street since November 12th of last year," he said.

On Monday, he was checking out one of the studio apartments that could soon be his own.

"I have heard news about this place being in the works since December of last year and I have been excited about it, to say the least," said Crawford.

That excitement is shared by other residents, like Patty.

"It has given me a chance to be a part of the community again and be able to stand on my own two feet," Patty said.

Both she and Crawford spoke about how thankful they are to have this facility.

"We have everything we need here in one area, and it's going to be great," Patty said.

"This is absolutely beautiful. I love seeing this," added Crawford.

Hollowell told FOX 13 News on Monday that they are ready to go and open up the community resource center. She said it should be open in the next week or so.

She said as soon as they get their license from the state, they will open up the housing side of the facility. Hollowell anticipates that will be by the second week in December.