Hundreds of Residents Voice Opinions, Concerns About Homeless Shelters

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(ABC4 Utah) On Tuesday night, during a public comment period, residents who live near a proposed homeless shelter in Salt Lake City’s Sugar House neighborhood expressed their concerns to the mayor.

“You have betrayed our community,” one man said, looking directly at Jackie Biskupski, Salt Lake City’s mayor.

“Don’t hang us out to dry,” he added.

He lives near a proposed homeless shelter in Sugar House along Simpson Avenue. And that is one of four homeless shelter locations announced by the mayor in December at a news conference.

Residents are concerned that they didn’t get any say on the locations before that announcement.

“Candidly, I think it was not a good decision to not solicit public input,” said Salt Lake County mayor Ben McAdams.

Even though the county didn’t take part in selecting the sites, he says the county will be involved in how this process moves forward.

Earlier in the afternoon Tuesday, the Salt Lake City Council publicly discussed the path forward at a meeting with the county mayor.

“We’re all elected to make hard decisions,” said McAdams.

Including: how to phase out The Road Home shelter, incrementally, in the city’s Rio Grande neighborhood. That process will reduce the number of beds for the homeless in Salt Lake from more than 1,000 to roughly 550 in the new shelters.

“As a new facility comes on line, say that new facility has 150 beds, then you’d see the Rio Grande shelter size decrease by 150 beds,” said McAdams.

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