The Episcopal Diocese of Utah presented a $600,000 check to Salt Lake City Mayor Palmer DePaulis Friday "just in the nick of time," enabling the city to continue construction of a $3.3 million homeless shelter.
The city was within one week of having to stall renovation of a warehouse at 210 Rio Grande St. for want of funds, DePaulis said.But the mayor and Episcopal Bishop George E. Bates agreed the money, pledged by the church in March and initially to be distributed over three years, was needed immediately. The shelter will eventually house 110 homeless family members and 237 single homeless men.
In an afternoon meeting in the mayor's chambers Friday afternoon, Bates offered DePaulis the check.
"We're very happy . . . to serve the state of Utah and do that in ways that are significant," Bates told an obviously pleased DePaulis.
DePaulis called the contribution a "tremendous statement" in support of the homeless, particularly single men, whom Depaulis called the most problematic but least supported homeless group.
The project is expected to be completed by November, with needed cash flow. "This guarantees us we'll finish," DePaulis said.
Craig Construction, the Salt Lake builder under contract for the proj-ect, is slightly ahead of schedule, said Stephen Holbrook, project coordinator for the Shelter the Homeless Program of Salt Lake.
The program only budgets for single construction phases, which Craig has completed. The $600,000 will allow the city to contract with Craig for another phase, he said.
Additionally, by receiving the money en masse, the city will save $50,000 to $60,000 in interest payments and other banking fees, DePaulis said.
The project is still $300,000 short of full funding, Holbrook said. But Holbrook is expecting that amount in outstanding donations, including a substantial anonymous contribution soon to be announced, he said.
More than $2 million has been raised through special benefit events, corporate and individual donations, and government and private-industry grants, officials said.
The Episcopal Church grant was made possible by the 1987 sale of St. Mark's Hospital in Salt Lake City to the Hospital Corporation of America. The church plans another donation of $710,000 in December to "a myriad of other concerns" such as other social service centers state-wide, Bates said.
The homeless shelter, which won kudos from mayors during the recent U.S. Conference of Mayors, will provide homeless housing, day-care, medical and mental health care and referral community services.
The money will fund only the single men's portion of the facility and will not go towards the homeless family part of the shelter, Holbrook said.
Additionally, Shelter for the Homeless is seeking another $100,000 to complete a $400,000 women's shelter yet to be located but likely to be built near the men's and family facility, Holbrook said.