Community group looks to address homelessness beyond just Pioneer Park

The Pioneer Park Coalition, now called Solutions Utah, changed its name ahead of a Salt Lake City mayoral race that is likely to put more focus on the government’s response to homelessness.

A community advocacy group created to push revitalization in and around Pioneer Park has a new name to match its new mission.

The Pioneer Park Coalition, created in 2014, announced Tuesday that it will now be known as Solutions Utah. The organization’s mission of addressing homelessness largely stays the same but apparently drops its focus on breathing new life into the Rio Grande neighborhood.

“Solutions Utah was created to address homelessness and its impacts on our community,” the organization wrote on its website. “We work on solving Utah’s challenges together. What used to be a great place to live, work, and visit is becoming less safe and more difficult to live and do business. Improving our community helps everyone — including those experiencing homelessness.”

The grassroots group says it seeks to build a coalition of businesses and residents to call for increased community safety and quality-of-life improvements; create more effective solutions to help those experiencing homelessness; hold the government accountable; and advocate for more effective spending.

(Chris Samuels | The Salt Lake Tribune) Members of the Pioneer Park Coalition and the community hold a news conference to address homelessness in Salt Lake City, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022. The group has a new name: Utah Solutions.

The new name comes on the cusp of a mayoral race that is likely to boost attention on Salt Lake City’s response to homelessness. (Solutions Utah will operate under the same nonprofit status granted to the Pioneer Park Coalition, which prohibits the organization from endorsing candidates.)

Former Mayor Rocky Anderson, who is seeking a third term at City Hall after more than a decade away from public office, has made homelessness a central issue in his campaign.

Mayor Erin Mendenhall, who is expected to seek reelection but has made no official announcement, has overseen the city’s homelessness response efforts and partnerships with the state and county.

In October, the Pioneer Park Coalition released its plan to address homelessness more aggressively, calling for giving those who live on the streets the option to get help or go to jail.

(Chris Samuels | The Salt Lake Tribune) Pioneer Park Coalition Executive Director Jim Behunin presents a plan to address homelessness in Salt Lake City, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022. The group has a new name: Utah Solutions.