Salt Lake City Mayor announces city’s winter plan for COVID-19

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Mayor Mendenhall signs a State of Local Emergency to prepare for the potential spread of COVID-19. (Mayor Erin Mendenhall Twitter)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – Utah and Salt Lake have been fighting the pandemic for 6 months. Now summer is ending and a new set of challenges are ahead. Mayor Erin Mendenhall presented her winter plan for managing the effects of the pandemic on Salt Lake City, via video and zoom meeting.

The mayor states in her presentation that when the pandemic hit they moved from one crisis to the other, “navigating unprecedented uncertainty by responding to needs as we discovered them.”

Now that we have lived with the pandemic for 6 months, and have more ahead of us before there is a vaccine she wanted to remind people the city is helping you “weather this generational storm.”

The winter plan is focused on five key areas that leaders feel will be the most challenging for city residents this winter.

  • Health
  • Education and childcare
  • Economic support
  • Housing stability and Homeless services
  • Operations and Service from the city.

The number one priority is the health of City residents. The mayor says she has been encouraged that there have been stable and declining trends for 30 days. She thanked everyone for taking the mask mandate seriously, “it is working.” she said.

She said Salt Lake City is already working on when the vaccines become available so they can stand the program up as fast as possible.

The mayor outlined the programs for children and the funds she is trying to get for the programs, she also touched on her budget proposal expanding free wi-fi to help bridge the city’s digital divide. The backbone of which would go on Ensign peak and provide a multi-point access for public WI-FI and get better connection areas.

She said the difference with a system like this is, “a homework assignment getting turned in on time, a bill getting paid, a job application being submitted, or a doctor’s appointment getting scheduled” She said the internet has become a utility needed to function in our society, and these would be the first steps to reaching the goal of making sure everyone has access.

One of the proposals the mayor put on the table was dealing with housing stability and homeless support, she said it was a critical part of the plan.

There’s a $9 million dollar stability package that will be used to facilitate mortgage, rental, and rapid rehousing assistance.

The city is also trying to raise $1million dollars for residents who did not qualify or couldn’t access federal stimulus money. The mayor says “Raise Up SLC will provide financial relief to residents in the form of a no-fee debit card which they can use on a variety of living essentials, including rental or mortgage payments.”

The mayor also outlined a two-level plan to help keep the city cleaner. Help the homeless, and help connect people to social workers, service providers, legal defenders, and the justice courts.

The city’s goal with homelessness is that it is “rare, brief and non-recurring.”

She went through the wintertime city services and showed how the city wants to make it easier for residents to access services throughout the winter.

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