Salt Lake County will officially move forward with plans to build a homeless resource center in South Salt Lake. On Monday, a state committee approved the controversial recommendation made by County Mayor Ben McAdams.
The stamp of approval from the state Homeless Coordinating Committee wraps up months of contention between residents and city and county leaders. Since December, residents in Salt Lake City, South Salt Lake, West Valley and Draper expressed outrage that locations in their cities were being considered for homeless shelters.
McAdams recommended the South Salt Lake site to state leaders at the end of March.
On Monday South Salt Lake Mayor Cherie Wood made one final plea for a site in a different community. She said her city is already overburdened with an 84-bed homeless shelter and two county jails.
“South Salt Lake has all of the facilities that no one wants and none of the county facilities that everyone wants,” she said. “No county recreation center, no nice new parks, no new libraries. It’s simply not fair.”
The committee voted to approve the site in South Salt Lake, in addition to two other centers in Salt Lake City, without any debate, and only one dissenting vote.
Committee members also approved McAdams’ recommendation to delay groundbreaking on the facility until the legislature passes a bill to provide extra funding to cities that host the new resource centers.
Afterward, Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox addressed Wood and unhappy residents of South Salt Lake.
“You have been heard loud and clear,” Cox said, promising that the city has his support and support from Mayor McAdams.
“It’s very clear that no city wanted this resource center,” he said. “I think that’s very obvious. But I want to commend South Salt Lake. You opposed it the right way.”
Next, leaders will next determine which resource centers will serve which homeless populations. McAdams says he will advocate for a low-needs population at the facility in South Salt Lake.