South Salt Lake Mayor Cherie Wood and West Valley City Mayor Ron Bigelow spoke against a potential homeless shelter in their cities over the weekend. Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams is in charge of selecting a third site for a new shelter. Five potential locations have been identified. Three in West Valley City and two in South Salt Lake. Bigelow says the locations are fraught with problems.
“Why do you pick two cities that have a huge population with low-income people with less economic base in order to take on the problem? It doesn’t make sense,” Bigelow says.
The Utah legislature passed a bill outlining a plan for two homeless shelter/resource centers in Salt Lake City and a third shelter somewhere in Salt Lake County.
Bigelow is also dismayed by his and Mayor Wood’s lack of input in the selection process.
“All you’re doing is moving the problem from one place to another,” Bigelow says. “We just don’t want Salt Lake City to export their crime and their economic depression to us.”
West Valley City area lawmakers, including Republican Senator Daniel Thatcher, Democratic Representative Angela Romero and others said in a statement late Monday, March 20, 2017 “West Valley City has made a concerted effort to address transitional and affordable housing for some of our most vulnerable community members...We are already part of the solution and our communities should not be solely responsible for providing all these services that should be scattered throughout the state.”
Mayor Ben McAdams wasn’t available for comment on Monday. He’s required to present his decision to the state's Homeless Coordinating Committee, on March 30.