Amidst controversy, homeless shelter approved in South Salt Lake

Amidst controversy, homeless shelter approved in South Salt Lake

SOUTH SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The state homeless coordinating committee voted yesterday to approve a new homeless shelter in South Salt Lake City. The decision came after intense opposition from the city’s mayor and residents.

Residents of the area were willing to speak with ElevenNews, but declined being on camera. They said that with all the exposure this issue has brought to their quiet street, their disapproval has been mischaracterized.

From a retired elderly couple to a young family who recently purchased their first home, everyone spoken to recognized the importance of taking care of the homeless. But they each felt that the county has selected the wrong spot for a shelter.

The retired elderly woman was visibly frustrated as she spoke of the recent changes in this agriculturally zoned district. Having lived her whole life on this street, she said the county is slowly taking the neighborhood over. Within the last 20 years, the county has built a sheriff’s department office, a detention center, the county jail, and now the homeless shelter – all within two blocks of each other.

In addition to affecting property value, building the shelter may mean the county will use their power of eminent domain to take over some properties for construction space.

South Salt Lake City mayor Cherie Wood said she plans to keep fighting to keep the shelter out of her city, or at least reach a compromise to prevent people in South Salt Lake from losing their homes in the name of helping the homeless.

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