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Simpson Ave. Shelter Nixed

Biskupski scales back plan from four new shelters to two.


The site of the proposed homeless resource facility at 653 E. Simpson Ave. - ENRIQUE LIMÓN
  • Enrique Limón
  • The site of the proposed homeless resource facility at 653 E. Simpson Ave.

In an announcement that is sure to relieve some Sugar House residents, Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski says the city will build two new homeless shelters—not four as previously planned.

The proposed sites at 653 E. Simpson Ave. and 648 W. 100 South have been nixed from the city plans, she said. The two remaining locations are on High Avenue and 700 South.

Biskupski said the product of collaborative efforts between the city, the county, the state and other stakeholders culminated to “a historic moment.”

Late last year, the city revealed four proposed sites where homeless shelters were to be constructed. Since then, many residents living near Simpson Avenue have engaged in a sustained protest.

But on Friday, the mayor declared the change in plans.

The service model in the proposed shelters will be dramatically different than the current set up at The Road Home on Rio Grande Street. Biskupski has emphasized that, rather than offer a bed each night to those with nowhere else to go, the goal is to transition homeless folks into homes.

“These centers are spaces of hope being built to help those most in need access treatment and resources to put them on a path to independence and a life reinvented,” Biskupski said.

The new resource centers will be capped at 200 beds each. One of the sites will be reserved for single women.

Salt Lake County committed to selecting an additional homeless shelter to be built outside city limits. Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams said services will be ready “on Day 1” of the shelter openings.

“There’s no question we’re headed in the right direction in a unified fashion,” Biskupski said.

House Speaker Greg Hughes, who opened the legislative session, said the closure date of the Rio Grande shelter is June 30, 2019.