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Donation drive benefits new Sugarhouse homeless shelter

(Photo credit: Mary Richards)

SUGARHOUSE, Utah — A quickly-organized donation drive for the new Sugarhouse homeless shelter saw families and residents dropping off warm clothing and blankets for when the building is ready.

“I think this is particularly great today, as we honor the life and example of Martin Luther King, Jr,” said City councilwoman Amy Fowler. “He said to lead with compassion and love, and that is what we are seeing today.”

Some people drew signs saying “Welcome to Salt Lake City,” or, “Yes in my backyard.”

(Photo credit: Mary Richards)

It’s the site of the former Deseret Industries building at 2234 South Highland Drive.

New Salt Lake Mayor Erin Mendenhall announced last week that the city would make it an emergency overnight shelter. The city council then met and approved it.

The people at Monday’s event seemed happy about the shelter. But others have been worried about the increased crime that could come to the area because of it.

For example, the South Salt Lake men’s homeless resource center has meant increased crime for the surrounding neighborhoods.

Fowler said Salt Lake Police assured her they will patrol the area 24-7. And they will partner with neighbors.

“The Boys and Girls Club for example, their staff knows where people may sleep at night, because they see them in the morning. Let’s go see if we can get them to come here, instead,” said Fowler.

Fowler said the overnight shelter is only meant to be temporary through April. She says the staff will connect the people to resources, through the “Shelter the Homeless” model.

Crews were going in and out of the building on Monday, because they had to get it ready in time to open this week. The city said it would spend at least $5,000 on it. The city’s Redevelopment Agency currently owns the building.

The shelter will only open at nights. Men and women will have separate areas.

See also:

Temporary homeless shelter in Salt Lake City to open in Sugarhouse
South Salt Lake Police receiving more calls than expected from new homeless shelter
Salt Lake Police warn about squatters in empty homes
Safety measures for pedestrians coming to the new Homeless Resource Center
Homeless Resource Centers ask for donations ahead of cold weekend