Salt Lake City Council approves zoning for temporary shelter in Sugar House

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Salt Lake City Council approves zoning for temporary shelter in Sugar House. (KUTV)

The Salt Lake City Council approved a temporary zoning regulation to allow for a homeless shelter in Sugar House.

The council voted unanimously Friday for a special zoning regulation that lasts for six months.

The special regulation is meant for reasons that require immediate action, and do not have to go through public hearings.

The building for temporary shelter is currently vacant.

Once ready, the shelter will have 145 cots

"I know with the Road Home closing they are still about 250 beds short. So the more people they can get off the street the better,” said Sugar House resident, Kaden Coil.

It will be a temporary shelter, only be open in the winter months. It is scheduled to close on April 15.

Julia Parker has lived in sugar house for 43 years, she said in the past five homelessness has become more rampant.

"My heart feels bad for them, I wish I could really help. But I am clear that I as an individual I cannot do that much,” said Julia Parker, a Sugar House resident. "I think what Mendenhall is doing is a good idea. But I think it's just a stopgap, it's not the answer."

This shelter opens after protests in Washington Square Park, demanding more resources for Salt Lake City's homeless.

Those leading the efforts say the temporary shelter is not enough.

"255 beds short still, with this new shelter,” said Maura Sanchez, with the Take Shelter Coalition.

She said they plan to continue to put pressure on the city for more resources for the homeless. Sanchez said shelters often don't let people bring all of their belongings with them for their stay.

“That is a problem, that is like a roadblock, a major roadblock,” said Sanchez.

Sanchez and some sugar house residents say the city needs to open a new permanent shelter, with more resources for the homeless community.

"What is going to help them without hurting the masses of people here who are, a lot of them are older people too, who are fearful of what's going to happen,” said Julia Parker.”

Parker said that fear is fear of the unknown, and a worry about and increase in theft and property damage.

Mayor Mendenhall said safety is her fundamental concern. She said Utah Highway Patrol and Salt Lake City Police will work together to keep the area safe.

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