SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – The gates closed Friday to the new Safe Space Courtyard on Rio Grande Street. People now need a special ID card to access the area and some of the resources nearby.
The card is called the Coordinated Services Card and pools the resources of the Road Home, the Community Connection Center, the Weigan Center, and the new Safe Space Courtyard. Beds at the Road home and meals at Catholic Community Services are still open to the public, but the new card grants access to a fenced off portion of Rio Grande st. and to services like document storage and job training at the Weigan Center.
The card also replaces ID cards distributed by individual agencies.
Nate McDonald with the Department of Workforce services said that the goal of the card is to maintain the drop in crime since Operation Rio Grande and to get services to those who need them. “We want to make sure that it’s a safe space for people who need the services to come and get the services. That being said, we have rules that we are going to enforce.”
To get a card, a person needs to provide their birthday, social security number, and a finger print. Some of the homeless were concerned that they would be turned in on a warrant if they provided that information. But McDonald says that’s not the case. “There are no plans for the database to be shared with police. It’s something that we quickly realized would be a concern and be a barrier.”