SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Mayor Mendenhall addressed the Salt Lake homeless crisis in a press release Friday.
Mayor Mendenhall made it clear in her statement that even though Salt Lake City has gone above and beyond to provide beds and resources for the homeless population, “it is not Salt Lake City’s role to address the statewide problem of too few shelter beds.”
The city has had to help fill gaps in the homeless services system for the second winter in a row, according to the press release.
Mayor Mendenhall added that the system of determining sufficient winter shelter as it currently stands is dysfunctional and a disservice to the service providers, residents, and businesses in the area, and most of all, to individuals experiencing homelessness.
Mendenhall also empathized with the Salt Lake Valley Coalition to end homelessness which she says has been given the charge by the state legislature to secure winter shelter without the staffing, funding or authority to actually do so.
“It’s an untenable situation that is set up to fail. We must do better. All of our government partners must be willing to do their part,” said Mendenhall.
“I applaud the city of Millcreek for supporting the 60-bed temporary transitional housing that opened this week. I commend our Salt Lake City Council for acting quickly to respond to the Coalition’s request for necessary, formal action to allow a shelter with twice as many beds in our city,” said Mendenhall. “I look to the other cities in Salt Lake County and beyond to become active participants in this conversation. Salt Lake City knows it’s hard, it’s unpopular, and it stretches already overstretched resources, but ensuring people have access to shelter is the right thing to do.”