A recent audit by the Legislature found that staying in the downtown homeless shelter can be scary for the homeless themselves. According to the audit, police busted a man who had previously been kicked out of the shelter and was armed with a loaded hand gun, a pocketful of needles and drugs. This random discovery from the audit might not make neighbors of the pending new homeless resource centers feel all warm and fuzzy about the residents who will be moving in soon.
On the flipside, one new development next door to Greek Town (where the main shelter is located) is on the lips of renters and developers alike who are watching the Guadalupe neighborhood with glee and lust. This sleepy little area located from 500 to 1100 West and North Temple to 600 North has been getting lots of attention recently as the private group Salt Lake Housing Services has been helping entice $30 million to revitalize the area with everything from new sidewalks to revamped buildings for classic-car restoration shops, businesses and restaurants. The masses are coming; money is to be made. Wake up Guadalupe, you're next on gentrification's radar.
Project Open is a housing development project led by the nonprofit Giv Group, and is going to blow some minds by adding new affordable apartments specifically for those who might have been homeless. These new neighbors can find instant community, with common areas and an old brick warehouse next door that houses a gym and art spaces above (watched over by Craft Lake City and Giv Group). There will be machines in the lobby carrying healthy food, every parking space will be wired for electric cars and the buildings will be solar powered. These hipster kinds of amenities found in high-end apartments are going to cost pennies on the dollar. Project Open has 81 of its 112 units starting as low as $350 a month. That will certainly put a smile on those who have been living hand-to-mouth.
Project Open apartments are just a hop, skip and a jump from The Road Home. Chris Parker, one of the masterminds of affordable living in Salt Lake, has eyes on four or five other sites nearby to expand the concept of a community that engages with each other—one that hopefully won't fear their under-priveleged neighbors.