SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (News4Utah) — A new local study shows just how dire and difficult it is for mothers to get out of homelessness.
The Crossroads Urban Center and United Methodist Women say the county and city’s plan to address the homeless problem doesn’t do enough.
This study involved interviewing mothers who are homeless or at risk of being homeless. The big take away is the need for more housing for families.
A mother picks up food at the Crossroads Urban Center food pantry and wonders how much longer she can make ends meet.
“It’s not easy making it month to month.”
The study included 77 mothers, between them, they are responsible for 202 children. Advocates say they’ve been voicing their concern for the lack of family housing shelter for years. One that the current plan, they say, doesn’t address.
Glenn Bailey, Crossroads Urban Center Executive Director, “perhaps, heard and ignored.”
Plans to close the 1100 bed Road Home Shelter and build 3 new homeless shelters equal a net loss of 400 beds. The math isn’t adding up to some.
“A crisis is brewing despite tens of millions of dollars to reorganize the shelter system,” said Bailey.
“It’s a humanitarian catastrophe in the making,” said Deeda Seeds, lead investigator in the study.
The study provides specific recommendations for helping moms who are stuck.
Besides the overwhelming need for affordable housing, moms on the verge of homelessness need access to childcare, jobs and transportation.
Lawmakers say the new resource centers will address the problem to get people out of shelters and into permanent housing and the Midvale Family Shelter is in place.
“it is not enough. It’s overflowing,” said Seeds.
One solution advocates say, but has fallen on deaf ears, is to re-purpose the Road Home Shelter to be a family shelter.
“We think we have to revisit that issue because when you look at how hard it was to site the 3 new shelters, we already have a shelter and we need to use it. We could retrofit it to make it more useful to families,” said Bailey.
The study and recommendations will be hand delivered to lawmakers and major stake holders in hopes they will be heard this time around. Click here to read the entire study.