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Men’s homeless resource center set to overflow, even before it opens

People try and stay warm as they sit outside the Main Library in Salt Lake City on Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. Photo: Steve Griffin, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — New numbers show the new men’s homeless resource center will already be overflowing when it opens in South Salt Lake.

Lt. Governor Spencer Cox said in a meeting Tuesday that the Road Home may need to stay open to have enough room. But Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson has said he does not think the Road Home should be kept open.

“I think we’ve seen that model didn’t work, and I think that facility needs to be taken offline,” Wilson said. “We’ve put a lot of state funding into these homeless resource centers in Salt Lake County, and I know Mayor Jenny Wilson and the Salt Lake County Council are paying close attention to it.”

Currently, there are about 400 men sleeping at the Road Home shelter. The new men’s homeless resource center in South Salt Lake has 300 beds.

Preston Cochrane with “Shelter the Homeless” told KSL last week no one will be turned away for lack of a bed.

“Everyone will be connected to a temporary housing shelter, whether it’s at a resource center or a motel housing voucher or the overflow,” Cochrane said.

“We are not turning anyone away,” he said. “Let me repeat that so everyone knows. No one is being turned away. There is an option for everyone.”

At the time, Cochrane was responding to news that a new women’s resource center and a second mixed-gender facility were both already at capacity.

State and local leaders plan an emergency meeting soon.