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Protestors call for The Road Home to stay open

(Photo: Paul Nelson)

SALT LAKE CITY – Dozens of people rally downtown, demanding the Road Home Shelter stay open through the winter.  Protesters say the need for the shelter is too great and people in need will suffer when the doors close.

Since state, county and city leaders called for help a week ago, roughly 20 landlords and property managers stepped forward, offering places for homeless people to stay.  Mayor Jackie Biskupski’s Deputy Chief of Staff David Litvack says that equates to 77 units that can be used.  However, he says they still need more.

“One of the needs that we still do have is the need for one-bedroom and studio apartments.  So, we’re reemphasizing that call to action,” he says.

The Housing Authority Landlord Outreach team can offer bonuses, risk mitigation funds and rental assistance packages to support people moving out of homeless resource centers into homes of their own.  Litvack says they vow to ensure no one will be forced to sleep in the cold.

He says, “We’re using motel and hotel vouchers, currently, for about ten to 11 women.  So, no one is being turned away.”

However, people protesting near the Rio Grande have their doubts.

One woman says, “That’s what they say.  They say no one is going to get turned away, but, our fear is that people are going to die.”

(People gathering coats for the homeless. Photo: Paul Nelson)

Protestors say no one should be denied shelter from the cold.

One says, “I believe that there are too many people.  Maybe the simpler question is, ‘Why not just keep it open until March?’  I mean, how much money are they going to be spending putting people into apartments?”

The closure of The Road Home is scheduled for later this month.