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Christmas comes in July for Utah families in need

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(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Lyric Padilla poses for a photo with Santa as the Salt Lake Board of Realtors held its annual Christmas in July event at The Road Home homeless shelter in Salt Lake City on Friday, July 12, 2013.

The Salt Lake Board of Realtors held its annual Christmas in July event at The Road Home homeless shelter on Friday to help families in need.

Nearly 300 people — more than half of them children — received a backpack filled with games, toys, books, back-to-school items, blankets, clothing and personal hygiene items.

In addition, Santa and Mrs. Claus offered horse-drawn carriage rides to children. Families also were treated to games, crafts and lunch.

“The national rate of homelessness, according to a recent study, is roughly 20 homeless people per 10,000 people in the general population,” said Dave Frederickson, president of the Salt Lake Board of Realtors. “A majority of persons identified as homeless stay in emergency shelters or transitional housing, but 38 percent go unsheltered — living on the streets, or in cars, abandoned buildings, or other places not intended for human habitation.”

Over the past year, The Road Home provided emergency shelter to nearly 7,000 people. The shelter has an 87 percent success rate for families moving from the shelter to housing.

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