UTAH STATE CAPITOL – Managers at the Road Home shelter are breathing a sigh of relief after the Utah Homeless Coordinating Committee released the rest of their funding for the year. Some committee members say the shelter needed to make massive improvements to their security before they’d give the rest of the money.
The concerns stemmed from an audit released by the Office of the Legislative Auditor General. It found cases of mismanagement, poor health conditions and drug use. Committee member and Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams suggested freezing the funding until the shelter had shown they made improvements. He says he was especially concerned about the shelter’s response to the audit, which he felt was complacent about lax security.
“I was really concerned when I saw the audit about evidence of drug dealing, open drug use in the shelter and, really, a sense of complacency,” McAdams says.
However, Executive Director Matt Minkevitch described the steps they’ve taken since the audit was released, which include a new check-in system, new metal detectors and an inspection of the facility by the Utah Highway Patrol.
“They conducted a thorough sweep of the entire men’s dormitory and all of the corridors and bathrooms therein with dual purpose dogs that looked for both weapons and for drugs,” Minkevitch says.
Today, the committee not only released the rest of the $3.7 million dollars for funding, but they added $1.4 million for the shelter’s “safety and security plan.”
Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox says, “[We should be] raising the expectations and raising the standards to help our homeless friends engage so they don’t have to remain there forever. But, safety is absolutely part of that.”
Members of the committee also discussed the possibility of purchasing the land the shelter sits on. Cox says the state would then act as landlord to ensure the transition to the new facilities runs smoothly.
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