Catholic Community Services announced Thursday that it will not renew its contract this June to operate one of the three new homeless resource centers located in the Salt Lake City area.
Jean Hill, director of the Office of Life, Justice and Peace at the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City, told The Salt Lake Tribune in an email that the decision comes after an “in-depth look” at its services and resources.
“We fully support the new model, but based on the budgetary constraints and our mission of self-reliance, we have determined that it is in the best interests of our clients, donors and staff for CCS to preserve our funds for those services at which we excel and which our clients expect from us,” she wrote.
That means Catholic Community Services will cease later this year to operate the 200-bed men’s and women’s Gail Miller shelter, located at 242 West Paramount Ave. That center, which opened in September, is part of a new model for providing homeless services in Salt Lake County and offers access not only to a bed but also to a full suite of services — including health care, job, housing help and more.
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The organization plans to continue operating St. Vincent de Paul Dining Hall, which will soon have a new kitchen training program, and will keep providing more than 1,500 meals per day for the three resource centers.
“Focusing on these core areas," Hill said, “will help us better meet the needs of the people we serve and augment, rather than duplicate, the services provided in the homeless resource centers.”
Preston Cochrane, executive director of Shelter the Homeless, which owns the three resource centers, said the organization had received notification of Catholic Community Services’ intent not to renew its contract on Thursday and hadn’t met as a board to determine exactly how it will choose a new service provider to run the Gail Miller shelter.
“It’s good they’re giving advance notice so we can get someone ready to go,” he said.
Cochrane praised Catholic Community Services’ work on homeless services and said he respected the organization’s decision to focus its efforts outside of the resource center in the future.
“They’ll still be a huge player in the new overall system,” he said. "We’ll move forward, but we’re thankful for all that they’ve done.”
The Road Home operates a 300-bed men’s shelter in South Salt Lake, while Volunteers of America Utah runs a 200-bed women’s center in Salt Lake City. All three service providers were picked in November 2018, ahead of the centers’ openings throughout the last few months of 2019.