Here’s where SLC Mayor Erin Mendenhall wants to spend $6M to reduce homelessness

Her team wants the new units — crafted from former motels — to be available by the time the winter overflow homeless shelter closes in the spring.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Ramada on North Temple, Monday, Jan. 31, 2022. The building was used as an overflow shelter last winter. Now, city officials want to give a developer $2 million to help convert it into permanent supportive housing.

Salt Lake City wants to infuse millions of dollars into developments that would help keep Utahns off the streets, and policymakers are getting close to deciding where that money would go.

Mayor Erin Mendenhall’s administration presented a proposal Tuesday to the City Council to divvy $6 million evenly among three projects that would serve medically vulnerable residents and provide permanent supportive housing for veterans, older Utahns and others.

The funding recommendation is the latest step of a grant program the administration announced in September to get more affordable housing on line before Millcreek’s winter overflow shelter closes this spring. Council members will need to sign off on the plan before any money can be distributed.

“If we can take 450 people off the streets, put them in some permanent supportive housing care, that is a wonderful opportunity,” council Chair Dan Dugan said, “especially coming right after winter.”

The application window opened from Sept. 30 to Oct. 14. The city received five applications requesting nearly $12 million. Officials ultimately landed on funding for three motel-conversion projects.

Mendenhall’s team wants to fund a development led by the nonprofit Shelter the Homeless that would serve medically vulnerable residents with transitional housing. City records show the project would include 179 beds across 98 units but do not reveal the location of the facility, other than to say it would not be in Salt Lake City.

Laurie Hopkins, the organization’s executive director, said the project would be in Salt Lake County but declined to specify which city would host it.

“(Shelter the Homeless) is working under a purchase and sale agreement that requires strict location confidentiality,” she wrote in an email, “so we’re unable to provide more details.”

The two other developments the administration proposed to receive funding would be on the city’s west side, along the North Temple corridor. Both projects also received a slice of the $55 million the state handed out for housing in September.

The first would go to a developer who is converting the Ramada at 1659 W. North Temple into a housing development that would include 197 units. The building served as an overflow shelter last winter and would operate as Ville 1659 when it opens as permanent supportive housing.

Rent would be set at fair-market value, effectively requiring tenants to receive vouchers.

The other chunk of funding would be for The Point Fairpark, 130 N. 2100 West. It would offer 94 units and target veterans and older Utahns. It is being developed by Friends of Switchpoint.

Supportive services would be provided at all three developments.

Bill Tibbitts, deputy executive director of Crossroads Urban Center, said setting a spring deadline to make the beds available is an aggressive goal, but he is eager to see it happen

The three projects, he said, would make a difference.

“There are so many people sleeping outside,” he said. “Something like this should have an impact that people will be able to see — and that there should be less people needing services this time next year.”

The City Council could make a final vote next week on the funding choices.