Group wants Salt Lake City shelter remade as family facility

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — An organization that helps the homeless is looking to convert a closing shelter in downtown Salt Lake City into a facility that serves families.

Crossroads Urban Center recently released a report that found women and their children are struggling to find housing amid rising rent, low wages and lack of child care, The Salt Lake Tribune reported Thursday.

The report by Crossroads was based on interviews with 77 women with children who are homeless or have recently been homeless. The report found this group faces a shortage of shelter beds in Salt Lake City despite the planning and millions of dollars poured into dealing with the issue.

"It’s a humanitarian catastrophe in the making," said Crossroads spokeswoman Deeda Seed.

Among the report’s findings, it indicated 66 percent of the people surveyed were victims of domestic violence; 79 percent reported trouble finding affordable housing; 85 percent didn’t have access to child care; and 70 percent didn’t have a job.

The report comes as the Road Home shelter in downtown Salt Lake City is scheduled to close in June 2019. The shelter that can house up to 1,100 people is shutting down after efforts to curb crime in the area.

The Midvale Family Shelter — the only shelter serving families — has currently reached its capacity of 300. The city and county are working to add three new shelters, but they are not planned to accommodate families.

Officials have decided to put more resources into getting children and their mothers into permanent housing rather than investing in more shelters to accommodate children, said Janell Fluckiger, the outgoing executive director of Shelter the Homeless. The organization owns and operates the shelters in the Salt Lake City area.

"Homeless shelters are not the solution for kids," Fluckiger said.

Families that can’t get into shelters have been housed at motels under a voucher program. This system can put children at risk, according to the Crossroads report.


Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune,

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