Regional Collaboration Attempts to Mimic Salt Lake City Success in Fight to End Homelessness
On February 25th, HUD’s Utah Field Office Director Kelly Jorgensen, and Senior Management Analyst Pauline Zvonkovic, joined Utah’s Homeless Management Information Officer, Lloyd Pendleton on a tour of Utah’s homeless provider network. The purpose of the tour was to showcase a sampling of Utah’s homeless services to representatives from Wyoming, Oklahoma and California. The representatives are currently engaged in their respective state’s efforts to combat and ultimately end chronic homelessness in their communities.
Wyoming State Homelessness Project Manager, Karla McClaren; Utah’s Homeless Management Information Officer, Lloyd Pendleton; Associate Executive Director of The Road Home, Michelle Flynn
The group toured the St. Vincent DePaul Weigand Homeless Day center. That is operated by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City and their local ministry, the Catholic Community Services of Utah. Center Director, Dennis Kelsch described the numerous services offered at the day center, such as a lunch and dinner meal system, laundry facilities and case management services.
Agency representatives from Veterans Affairs, Volunteers of America (Utah) and other providers maintain offices at Weigand to connect directly with those seeking assistance. Justice Court is also held at Weigand to assist individuals to overcome impediments to services and housing.
The Road Home is Salt Lake City’s main shelter. It is located across from the Weigand Homeless Day Center. It provides overnight shelter and case management to single men, women and families.
The group also toured Palmer Court. That is a permanent supportive housing project owned and managed by The Road Home. The complex is home to 150 single adults and 50 families who were previously chronically homeless.
State officials hoped to gain insight and guidance as they examined Utah’s success in the effort to end homelessness. The visitors learned how Salt Lake County has been effective in reducing homelessness by over 75% in the last eight years. It was accomplished through service provider collaboration and an intensive effort to prioritize funding resources to serve the most vulnerable individuals in the county.
Salt Lake County has also developed a strategy which concentrates a precise service delivery system in a relatively small geographic area. These approaches are invaluable tools to assist other states in the endeavor to reduce and eventually end homelessness in their own communities.