2017-18 Budget: Homeless Services

Creating equity and opportunity are at the core of our efforts to move people from homelessness to housing, while mitigating the current issues surrounding Salt Lake City’s homeless shelter.

In the coming year, the City will target more than $2.1 million dollars to assist agencies with service needs and provide mitigation efforts.

To better manage these dollars, we have consolidated homeless resources under the direction of Housing and Neighborhood Development.

We have also increased ongoing funding by approximately $1.5 million dollars, in many instances moving items previously paid for using one-time or emergency funding into ongoing revenue streams.

My proposed budget will help fund the following:

  • Operation Diversion
  • Weigand Homeless Resource Center
  • The Road Home
  • Detox beds at Volunteers of America
  • Winter motel vouchers
  • Emergency winter shelter at St. Vincent
  • Wasatch Community Garden’s Green Team
  • An increase in portable bathrooms
  • Downtown Alliance Clean Team
  • Bio Team
  • Portland Loos

I have also set aside funding for infrastructure changes on 500 West, particularly to address the parking needs of the Salt Lake City Police Department’s Community Connection Center and new centralized sub-station on 500 West.

My teams—with the help of community stakeholders—have been exploring the best options in the area, as well as looking at how we can utilize this infrastructure to disrupt criminal behavior.

My proposed budget also increases funding for the Green Team Program—which employs and teaches garden skills to women experiencing homelessness at a community garden on 600 West.

This increased funding of $50,000 will be set aside to pay the salary of a professional gardener from Wasatch Community Gardens, who has been instrumental in literally helping this program GROW.

Last September, I attended the opening of this garden and had the opportunity to meet some of the women in the program, along with those helping them succeed.

What struck me most at this opening, was the level of community support for efforts to help raise people out of homelessness and to find new and compassionate solutions.

The Green Team was the result of cooperation between Salt Lake City, the RDA, Wasatch Community Gardens, Advantage Services, and the Downtown Alliance.

Everyone came together to make this happen—and it’s working.

We need to celebrate the non-profits like Wasatch Community Gardens, local businesses, and organizations like the Downtown Alliance, which choose to be a part of the solution and are getting their hands dirty.

We need everyone to help make change, and to help others.

I like to say re-think your thinking.

We saw this last year with the City and County’s efforts in the creation of Operation Diversion.

This was a change in thinking. A change in how we operate.

For the first time, we paired law enforcement accountability, with the opportunity for treatment.

Operation Diversion is a successful model, and with commitment from the County to match the $685,000 dollars I have prioritized in this year’s budget, it will continue.

Efforts and funding from the State and Sheriff will ensure we have the jail capacity to make it a continued success.

Through the efforts of SLCPD’s innovative Community Connection Center, elements of Operation Diversion have continued all year, resulting in even greater successes.

The treatment beds made available during Operation Diversion were kept full by the social workers at the CCC—who were able to engage 104 people in treatment with a waiting list of 115 people.

This year’s budget includes an additional $220,000 for the CCC—providing all necessary funding for this program to be fully staffed.

Our willingness to continue exploring new ideas, and to fund these initiatives will undoubtedly help solve some immediate concerns as we prepare for transition in 2019.

Part of that preparation includes housing.

$125,000 dollars will go to support the twenty highest users of City resources and help them transition from homelessness to housing.

I have also allocated $3,000,000 in the RDA budget toward affordable housing initiatives. This funding adds to the pool of money created by the City Council last year.

I have also created the Blue Ribbon Commission, a team of experts who have been working diligently to develop a plan and funding strategy to bring critical affordable housing online over the next two years.

Through compassion and collaboration, we will continue to help those most in need in our community, and assist those transitioning from homelessness to housing.

To read Mayor Biskupski’s full budget presentation speech, please visit: https://slcmayorblog.com/

To read the entire FY 2017-18 recommended budget, please visit: http://www.slcgov.com/budget

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