Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Scott Sommerdorf | The Salt Lake Tribune) Gwen White of the Fourth Street Clinic Consumer Advisory Board (CAB) pauses as she describes what a difference dental care makes for homeless people as she thanks Alsco Co-CEOs Kevin Steiner, left background, and Bob Steiner, right, background, for their donations to the clinic, Wednesday December 18, 2013. At right is Vaughn Davis also of the CAB.
Dental care comes to Salt Lake City’s homeless
Health » Fourth Street Clinic will have a full-time dentist thanks to a private donation.
First Published Dec 18 2013 02:23 pm • Last Updated Dec 18 2013 10:12 pm

More of Salt Lake City’s homeless population will want to say, "cheese."

Come January, the Fourth Street Clinic, 409 S. 400 West, will provide comprehensive dental services through what CEO Kristy Chambers said was "an incredible opportunity to serve these patients."

At a glance

Financial assistance

Donate to Fourth Street Clinic’s homeless dental program. > fourthstreetclinic.org

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Beyond medical and psychological needs, at least 90 percent of Fourth’s Street’s homeless patients suffer from significant dental problems, said Medical Director Christina Gallop. Rotten and missing teeth are not only painful, they keep the homeless from re-entering society, she said.

It’s difficult to get a job if you don’t have teeth.

"There is a stigma attached to people with bad teeth," said Russell Flowers, a homeless man who sits on the clinic’s consumer advocacy board. "When they look in your mouth and you have no teeth, they think you don’t have anything to say."

Flowers said the new clinic and dental care give hope to homeless people.

"When we get our teeth fixed, it adds to our confidence. And it makes us look a lot better, too," he said.

The new dental clinic is mad possible through a grant from Bob and Kevin Steiner of Alsco Inc., an international linen and uniform rental company headquartered in Salt Lake City. On its 125th anniversary, the company’s owners wanted to give back to Salt Lake City, Bob Steiner said.

"We wanted to make a gift on our birthday to a place that makes a big difference to the people of Salt Lake City," he said.

The grant provides $125,000 annually for five years — enough for a full-time dentist. The clinic will require $450,000 per year to operate the dental program. The balance must be raised by donations. Chambers said contributions could be made through fourthstreetclinic.org.


story continues below
story continues below

Beyond financial gifts, the Fourth Street Clinic will get help from dental students and dental labs that provide services at discounted rates, Gallop said. "The challenge is not new to us," she said. "It’s a model we’ve used for 25 years [providing medical care]."

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker lauded Fourth Street and the Steiner brothers for opening the dental facility.

"People in this community come together for folks who are less fortunate," he said. "This is a prime example of how to provide services for those who do without."

Fourth Street client Gwen White, who also sits on the consumer advocacy board, said their outreach program seeks to find homeless people who are unaware of the services offered by the clinic.

"The first thing they ask for is dental. … You can see their pain and their hope," she said. "We are striving to give a face to homelessness. And a big smile will make a big difference."

csmart@sltrib.com



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.