Salt Lake City is expanding space for homeless shelters with emergency ordinance

The move comes in wintry weather and after state officials said the protection system was not yet up to capacity.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) The area behind the Rio Grande Depot at 500 W. 300 South where residents affected by homelessness live in makeshift tents and shelters, December 16, 2022.

After a cold snap that officials suspect contributed to the deaths of five unprotected residents in recent days, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall signed an emergency executive order Tuesday that will expand shelter space in the Utah capital .

The order comes days after officials said they still had room in the region’s emergency shelter network. Between December 7th and 13th, about 10% of the beds in the shelter system were unoccupied.

Millcreek Mayor Jeff Silvestrini and South Salt Lake Mayor Cherie Wood are poised to create shelters in their cities, too. Millcreek is home to temporary winter shelter and South Salt Lake is home to the Pamela Atkinson Resource Center.

The combined expansion brings 95 more beds to the system.

The state is providing additional funds to cover the additional personnel and transport needs.

State and local officials meet weekly to discuss what adjustments they need to make to the safety net.

This story will be updated. Salt Lake City is expanding space for homeless shelters with emergency ordinance

Justin Scacco

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