SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Tackling Salt Lake County’s homeless crisis has been a passionate debate for years. There are expenses. There are barriers. There are a number of stakeholders including business owners, city and state officials, and residents of neighborhoods where serviced are offered. But how do unsheltered residents feel about what’s being done to help provide housing, jobs, and other resources to them? And what do advocates with boots on the ground and the city think their top needs are?
Debra Evans, who is currently living unsheltered in Salt Lake City joined ABC4’s Glen Mills for an IN FOCUS discussion about her experiences. She shared how she ended up unsheltered, how often she has to move from place to place, what she feels would make her life on the streets easier, and what she wants the public to know about the unsheltered population.
Kseniya Kniazeva, the founder of Nomad Alliance talked about her organization, how they help people like Evans, what most people don’t know about the unsheltered population, why homeless shelters don’t work from some individuals, what impacts unsheltered residents the most, and what she would say to the numerous groups (governmental, contracted, and volunteer programs) about the needs of the unsheltered population.
Andrew Johnston, the director of homeless policy and outreach for Salt Lake City discussed how often they communicate with stakeholders involved with the area’s unsheltered population, what he thinks the greatest needs of unsheltered residents are, how the city is thinking about the smaller needs (such as IDs or places to charge phones), the recent announcement of a tiny home village, what he thinks about the City of Austin’s permanent tent city, and how they coordinate with the new state office on homeless resources.
To watch the full IN FOCUS discussion with Evans, Kniazeva, and Johnston click on the video at the top of the article.