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Salt Lake City uses new sales tax money to launch a program to pair, home 50 homeless roommates



SALT LAKE CITY – When Salt Lake City's leaders raised sales taxes last year, they promised to spend the new money on public safety, infrastructure, transit and affordable housing

On Thursday, city officials unveiled a new effort funded with

Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski presented a $ 100,000 check to the Home Home to fund a new Shared Housing Program – a program meant to combine people experiencing homelessness to be roommates in homes or apartments with low rents

The goal? This house and a total of 50 people this year and divert them from the emergency shelter, Biskupski said at a news conference held at Taylor Gardens Apartments, 1790 S. West Temple, an apartment complex participating in the program.

"That is 50 less people in our shelter and 50 fewer people will need to transition through our new resource centers, "said the mayor.

Biskupski said thanks to the sales tax hike approved by City Council last year," the city now has the "

" All of this aligns with our goal of making homelessness rare and temporary, "said Biskupski.

The program, the mayor said," helps fill and gap "in current transitional housing programs, which do not allow roommate situations, creating" a greater strain on our already tight housing market. "


I look at this project as an example.

-Amy Fowler, Salt Lake City Council


An example of not only how two people can support each other on a path towards housing stability, but also how our community can support each other in times of need.

The Road Home, over the last two years, has piloted a similar program and has successfully hosted 20 roommate pairs, and with the new $ 1

00,000 infusion of money from Salt Lake City will expand those efforts, said Matthew Minkevitch, executive director.

"Adding new housing resources is essential," Minkevitch said. "This is a more innovative approach to help our communities conserve what existing affordable housing is still out there and to help people who, without this alternative, would otherwise have to stay in shelter longer."

"I'm encouraged that this the program could provide a way out of the shelter for people who have jobs but whose wages can not scale the high price of rent, "Minkevitch said.

To be eligible for the program, people must be homeless, enrolled in job-training programs or on a fixed income of less than 40 percent of the area's average income

Road Home housing specialists will work with case managers to match people as roommates and seek out affordable housing options from local landlords, said Jeniece Olsen,

Individuals in the program will receive case management, including conflict resolution and mediation services, as well as assistance in purchasing items such as locks for doors and mini-fridges, city officials said. (19659002) While hundreds of Utahns experience homelessness at any given day of the year, Olsen said 50 people will still be making their own property, and their income will be secure if one roommate chooses to leave. and difference

"We need a whole suite of housing options for people, and that's just one pathway," she said.

The $ 100,000 check from the city is a one-time boost. After this year's pilot program, City Council will decide whether to continue funding it.

City Councilwoman Amy Fowler, who also serves as the city's Redevelopment Agency chairwoman, said the council "made a difficult and politically unpopular decision" to raise sales taxes, but now it's paying off.

"I look at this project as an example," Fowler said. "

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