SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – When it comes to the homeless crisis in the State of Utah, Salt Lake County is usually the first place that comes to mind, partly because of the visible tent camps, people sleeping in public areas, and panhandling. But the issue impacts communities in other parts of Utah too, such as rural areas and towns that rely on tourism. Advocates say domestic violence is one of the leading causes of homelessness among women and children in the Southern area. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Cedar City has a poverty rate that is 11% higher than the state’s average.
Derek Morton, who owns Netgain Property Management in Cedar City joined ABC4’s Emily Florez to talk about what inspired him to start helping people experiencing homelessness or domestic violence, some of the things his team has done to improve transitional housing for survivors, why they hired a housing advocate at their company, the progress made in the community, what improvements he’d like to see moving forward, and how others can contribute to the solutions.
Peggy Green, Executive Director of Iron County Care and Share discussed how big the problem of homelessness is in Southern Utah, why their emergency temporary shelter is being forced to serve as a day shelter, the lack of attainable housing in the state, the State of Utah’s Strategic Plan, why she believes there’s more to tackling homelessness than just the Housing First model, and the varying levels of housing readiness when it comes to unsheltered people.
Kaitlin Sorensen, Victim Services Director for Canyon Creek Services talked about some of the barriers that domestic violence survivors can face, the data and statistics on this issue, how her agency helps survivors get back on their feet, how long someone’s recovery journey can take, and how important coordination and partnerships are between local agencies.
To watch the full IN FOCUS discussion with Morton, Green, and Sorensen, click on the video at the top of the article.