The media and members of the Shelter the Homeless Committee toured the half-completed transitional shelter for families and single men Wednesday, capping off an afternoon that began with presentation of a significant donation to complete the facility.
Earlier in the day, Jon and Karen Huntsman presented Mayor Palmer DePaulis with a check for $250,000. Part of the money will be used to complete the shelter and the remainder will be applied to purchase of a building to shelter homeless women.The shelter's proximity to other services for the homeless is one of the unique strengths of the shelter, explained Stephen Holbrook, committee coordinator.
The shelter, 210 S. Rio Grande St. (450 West), is within two blocks of a number of such services, including: a Salvation Army-owned operation that will run a breakfast program and clothing exchange; a 50-bed alcohol treatment unit; Valley Storefront mental health offices; and St. Vincent De Paul Center, which provides the homeless with lunch, limited dental and medical care and counseling.
"We want to move people from homelessness back into the community," Holbrook said. "While we cannot create work that doesn't exist, we can hopefully move them back into the economy."
The shelter, scheduled for completion before Thanksgiving, will house 108 family members downstairs in 27 four-person rooms, and 236 single men in a dorm-style area upstairs. Holbrook said there are four handicapped-accessible rooms downstairs because of the increasing number of impaired homeless.
"Throughout, we are offering as much privacy as we can afford. This has been built to last a long time. We hope that homelessness doesn't last as long as this building."
In addition to sleeping quarters, the shelter has laundry facilities; a warming kitchen for preparation of simple foods; a playground; a school room for the "School with No Name" operated by the Salt Lake City School District; active and quiet community areas; and a workroom for the volunteers who will be needed to operate it. Intermountain Health Care will also operate a clinic on-site, and other organizations will have space to work with the homeless population.
The committee needs $200,000 more of the original $4 million goal to guarantee completion of the two shelters, and hopes to raise even more to establish a trust fund for operational, program and contingency costs.