While hundreds flocked to Salt Lake's homeless shelter during last week's bitter cold, one man didn't. Without shelter the night of Feb. 3, he froze to death, a pointed illustration of the importance of shelter for the homeless.
Winter has forced many to seek shelter at the Salt Lake Community Homeless Shelter and Resource Center, which opened last November, said Linda Hulme, director of the center's men's shelter."But I can't say we're probably having any more people because of the cold," Hulme said, saying many have sought shelter at the facility all winter long. Last weekend, 333 men stayed at the shelter.
Nevertheless, the shelter was built to avoid tragedies like the death of the unidentified man found underneath a freeway overpass Sunday morning, Hulme said.
Since the day the men's shelter opened it has been filled to capacity, she said. so has the 110-person family shelter adjacent to the men's facility and the 42-bed women's shelter at 107-115 S. Eighth West.
Should the shelter reach its self-imposed cap of 360 men, officials have made arrangements with The Inn, another center at 346 W. First South, to house men unable to fit into the shelter at 210 Rio Grande St.
"We haven't reached our limit yet, but they'll go there if we do so that hopefully things like that (the homeless man freezing to death) don't happen again." Hulme said.