Ten of Salt Lake County’s 16 cities have combined forces and set aside $200,000 to increase services for the homeless in Salt Lake County. It’s a new collaboration spearheaded by Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker and Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams.
Governor Gary Herbert says he hopes Utahns will increase their donations to the Pamela Atkinson Homeless Trust Fund when filing their Utah State Tax return. He spoke at an event promoting the fund Thursday at the YWCA Center for Families. He says a 50 percent increase from 2 dollars to 3 is not too much to ask in a state that leads the nation in charity and volunteerism.
Pamela Atkinson talked about a young family she met Wednesday night at the St. Vincent DePaul Soap Kitchen. She says, despite their struggles, she could clearly see they had already accomplished a lot.
The Rescue Mission of Salt Lake held it’s annual Christmas Banquet for the homeless today. Until the doors opened at 11 am, the line of people waiting to get into the Christmas banquet stretched down fourth West. When they did finally open, volunteers ushered them to their seats where they could eat a warm meal and listen to the Christmas music. Chris Croswhite is the executive director of the Rescue Mission of Salt Lake. He says for many, Christmas is an especially difficult time of year.
Homeless Utahns will be able to get dental care at a clinic in downtown Salt Lake City thanks to a gift from a local business. Alsco, a linen and uniform rental company has agreed to provide 125,000 dollars a year for five years to fund a full-time dentist at the Fourth Street Clinic. KUER’s Andrea Smardon reports that there is a pent up demand for dental services among the homeless and low-income populations.
Looking at the brand new dental chairs at Fourth Street Clinic, Russell Flowers breaks into a smile, revealing some missing teeth.
Salt Lake City community members gathered together Wednesday to showcase the efforts of the Homeless Outreach Service Team or HOST program that began two years ago.
The HOST program’s ultimate goal is to make contact with those in need and deliver the appropriate services for each individual situation. While the program’s two year milestone was locally celebrated, Mayor Ralph Becker says national colleagues he met with recently noticed the city’s efforts on a larger scale.
The estimated number of people who are homeless in Utah has declined nearly 10 percent since 2012. In addition, homelessness among families with children dropped by 8 percent. The news came from the state’s comprehensive report on homelessness, which was released today, the same day of Utah’s 10th Annual Homeless Summit at the Sheraton Hotel in Salt Lake City.
When Utahns file their state taxes this year, they can also donate to help the homeless. The Pamela Atkinson Homeless Trust Fund Tax Campaign was officially launched at Saint Vincent De Paul dining hall in Salt Lake City Friday.
“This project can have a huge impact,” said Pamela Atkinson, a long-time advocate for the homeless, “Every dollar that comes in, it means we can leverage that dollar and get private funds also, but it also means that we’re able to deliver these services for all of our homeless friends.”
Members of the Utah House passed a bill today that would give businesses a tax break if they hire people who are homeless.
Salt Lake County Democrat Brian King crafted the bill that would give businesses a tax credit of between five hundred and two thousand dollars for hiring an individual who is homeless. King said the legislation is designed to help some live more stable lives.
"What this is doing is giving individuals and a group of individuals who are struggling to be contributing citizens an opportunity to join our ranks as contributors," said King.
The Utah Housing and Community Development Division says while they saw an overall increase in the number of people who experienced homelessness in 2012 their efforts to end chronic homelessness by 2014 is right on track. That number decreased by almost 10 percent last year and is down 72 percent since 2005. Housing and Community Services director Gordon Walker says while it’s a complicated problem, they’ve found success in providing permanent housing with limited restrictions.
Homeless Veterans in Salt Lake City now have a better chance to get into a warm place to live just as winter weather approaches. The VA Salt Lake City Health Care System along the Housing Authority of Salt Lake City dedicated the new 72 room Valor House today. The Director of the Utah Division of Housing and Community Development, Gordon Walker, says the state is very close to serving every veteran’s needs for transitional and permanent housing and on track to end homelessness in Utah with the 10-year plan. US Navy Veteran Dawn Hemphill is a former homeless drug addict.