It seems Mayor Erin Mendenhall is following in the footsteps of Mayor Jackie Biskupski with her non-transparency. She’s been in office less than a month and drops an overflow homeless shelter in the middle of Sugar House, without any public input or discussion.
The issue isn’t so much the surprise location of the center, but rather the fact that in previous City Council meetings the public comments pointed out the issue of too few shelter beds in the new facilities.
Two years ago, I attended a bunch of City Council meetings. One of the public’s concerns, which was brought up over and over in the two-minute speeches, was the combined number of beds in the new shelters. The public was concerned that the three shelters only had 800 beds, while the number of homeless in 2018 was 1,500 people, and growing each year.
It’s simple math, 1,500 - 800 = 700 beds short.
As they already have three shelters in place, perhaps they should add onto them and increase the number of beds.
If city officials want to solve the homeless issue, then they need to look at the numbers and be realistic. The numbers are increasing each year, so more beds will be needed. A temporary fix is not the solution.
A realistic approach also involves discussion and public input. Oftentimes the public has a clearer vision than the officials, so they should listen.
Peggy Clark, Salt Lake City