Letter: Utah legislative session represents a monumental step forward in our fight against homelessness

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) A man pushes his belongings down the sidewalk on North Temple, on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024.

After the Tribune’s recent editorial, it is important to note that the Utah Impact Partnership’s dialogue with the Utah Legislature illuminates a crucial strategy in our communal endeavor against homelessness, advocating for a significant shift towards outcomes-based accountability and enhancing human dignity.

While the Legislature’s allocation did not meet every aspiration highlighted by Gov. Spencer Cox, it indeed met the essential mark required for progress, committing millions for emergency services and securing $15 million in philanthropic support to match.

The Legislature, especially Reps. Tyler Clancy and Steve Eliason, and Sen. Kirk Cullimore answered the call for legislative support, particularly for HB298. A number of passed bills highlight the necessity of funding outcomes over activities, ensuring that every dollar spent moves us toward our goal of functional zero homelessness.

This approach marries the need for immediate shelter with the long-term vision of eliminating unsanctioned camping and ensuring accountability for past and future investments.

While our combined efforts have shown promise in addressing this issue, the urgency of the situation demands even more assertive action. We cannot allow lawlessness, squalor and unsanctioned camping, or plague-like drugs to overcome our community’s deep capacity to care.

It is critical The Tribune continue to hold all parties accountable — importantly, for their continued collaboration. While acknowledging the gaps, this legislative session represents a monumental step forward in our fight against homelessness.

Jake Boyer, member of the Utah Impact Partnership, Salt Lake City

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