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SLC mayor focuses on homelessness, COVID-19, cost of living in annual State of the City address

Posted at 10:44 PM, Jan 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-26 00:51:26-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Mayor Erin Mendenhall looked back at the first two years of her administration while focusing on issues Salt Lake City faces in the future in her annual State of the City address.

In front of a limited attendance gathering comprised of her family members, other city leaders and members of the media, the mayor addressed the issues the city has faced since she took office in January 2020.

Those included the COVID-19 pandemic, air quality, public safety and homelessness.

READ: Utah is planning for the 'endemic' phase of COVID-19

In speaking about homelessness, the mayor did not hold back when calling on state leaders and neighboring communities to play a greater role in finding solutions to what she described as a humanitarian crisis.

“We should all be in this together,” Mendenhall said. “A statewide crisis demands a statewide solution.”

She added that Salt Lake City taxpayers have shouldered the cost of dealing with homelessness for too long.

“Salt Lakers are generous, compassionate people,” Mendenhall said. “I am so proud of the grace in our community. We want to help — we are determined to help — but I cannot let that compassion and generosity continue to be unfairly taken advantage of.”

READ: SLC temporary homeless shelter in desperate need of staff in order to open doors

Mendenhall pointed to successes like falling crime rates and improved response times of police officers to calls for service as ways the city is safer since she took office.

“My goal is for Salt Lake City to lead the state in public safety. That means ensuring that not only does the police department have the resources it needs, but that a community-based approach is at the core of our strategy,” she said.

On the COVID-19 pandemic, the city will now address the virus as a chronic issue. She called on all Salt Lakers to use their personal responsibility as a valuable tool to slow the spread.