SLC’s first legal homeless camp begins to take shape. See what the mini-shelters look like.

The roughly 150-square-foot pods will be divided to house two people in individual spaces.

(Bethany Baker | The Salt Lake Tribune) Crews set up miniature shelters at a planned sanctioned homeless camp in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023.

Crews this week began installing the miniature shelters that will make up Salt Lake City’s first sanctioned homeless camp, but the question of who will oversee the site this winter still looms.

The shelters, created by California-based company Foldum, are slated to house up to 50 people this winter at a city Redevelopment Agency-owned site at 600 West and 300 South.

State homelessness coordinator Wayne Niederhauser said Thursday that when he started pursuing a sanctioned camp, he wanted to offer unsheltered Utahns something more secure than a tent.

“The main concern that we’ve had is safety and security for those who will be using these facilities,” he said. “We just didn’t feel tents meet that standard long term.”

Think of the shelters as stripped-down tiny houses. Each pod is about 150 square feet with a dividing wall so it can house two people. Pods, which can be locked, come with insulation, heating and cooling units along with fold-up beds and tables with seating.

The units do not feature bathrooms. Salt Lake City is working on providing on-site toilets and camp residents will be referred to the nearby Weigand Resource Center for showers.

(Bethany Baker | The Salt Lake Tribune) A Foldum employee installs lighting in a miniature shelter at the planned sanctioned camp in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023.

State officials spent $640,000 on 27 pods, including two that will be reserved as office space for an operator — whenever one is selected.

Last month, the state nixed the request for bids from potential service providers after none of the applicants met the requirements to run the facility, delaying officials’ ability to pick a site operator.

Mayor Erin Mendenhall initially wanted to have the camp up and running about the time winter overflow shelter beds started opening. Those beds began coming on line last month.

State officials hope to issue a new request for bids Friday or Monday, according to Tricia Davis, assistant director of Utah’s Office of Homeless Services.

(Bethany Baker | The Salt Lake Tribune) Shelters sit at the planned sanctioned camp at 600 West and 300 South in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023.

The request is being led by the state’s purchasing division and is expected to be open until Nov. 20. Davis said officials hope to announce a provider by Nov. 28.

“Whoever comes into this,” she said, “is going to have to hit the ground running.”

Niederhauser hopes the site will be operational by mid-December. For now, officials said, private security will monitor the site.

The foldable shelters, Niederhauser said, will be moved to a yet-to-be-determined site next year to provide housing at a state-run sanctioned camp.