SALT LAKE CITY — People in Salt Lake City don’t seem to think the homeless and panhandling situation has improved downtown, even with a year of solid strides since Operation Rio Grande began.
City officials are pleased with the progress made in tackling the homeless situation — people cleared out of the Rio Grande area, hundreds of arrests, dozens helped into treatment — but a new UtahPolicy.com poll shows that 45-percent of people living in Salt Lake City say the homeless/panhandling situation is about the same.
— Utah Policy (@UtahPolicy) September 25, 2018
Advocate for the homeless Pamela Atkinson wants people there is a difference between homeless people and panhandlers.
“Many of them are not homeless,” says Atkinson. “If you want to ever want to follow them, they usually go to an apartment or even a house.”
Atkinson believes the homeless situation has improved immensely and people are getting the help they need since Operation Rio Grande, and she expects the gains to continue as more resources are diverted toward solving the problem. She also feels the general public is making the ever-growing panhandling situation worse.
“We can only stop panhandling if our generous public stop giving to panhandlers,” Atkinson says. “The perception that panhandlers are still around is quite true, but many of them are not homeless people who take advantage of our services.”
Just over a quarter of those polled say things have improved downtown.
Roughly the same amount the problems have actually gotten worse.
Today’s Top Stories
- ‘Diesel Brothers’ ordered to pay $850k for violating Clean Air Act
- UPDATE: Family confirms remains found at Daybell home are missing children
- We have a wiener! Joey Chestnut eats 71 hot dogs for title
- Possible coronavirus on cruise ship causes huge problems for Utah couple
- Santa, reindeer granted permit to enter US on Christmas Eve
- Pilot walks away from rough landing in West Jordan
- Mark Hamill called an 11-year-old ‘Star Wars’ fan with an R2-D2 bionic arm a hero
- Ford recalls 2 million vehicles because the doors could open while driving
- Meat monopoly: Utah AG concerned about possible meat price-fixing
- Mail-in mistakes: how to make sure your ballot and vote count