SALT LAKE CITY, UT – May 6, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — A snapshot survey shows that Utah’s total homeless population increased by eight percent while chronic homelessness decreased by nearly five percent since last year. In Salt Lake County where more than 200 housing units have been provided for the chronically homeless, there has been a 24 percent reduction from last year. This has allowed private and non-profit agencies who provide services to the homeless, to focus their efforts on housing them.
The decrease in the chronically homeless population from January 2008 to January 2009 is directly attributed to the State’s Permanent Supportive Housing program. In addition to Salt Lake City’s 100 units at Sunrise Metro Apartments which opened in April 2007, an additional 84 units became available with the April 2008 opening of Grace Mary Manor.
“We expect to see another significant decrease in our homeless population when Palmer Court opens in June with 201 apartments that will house 300 people and with the Newhouse Apartments and Avalon House scheduled for completion at the end of the year,” said Lloyd Pendleton, Homeless Task Force Director. “Housing our chronically homeless population with case management services is significantly more inexpensive at $12,000 a year than the $19,000 associated with medical emergency and law enforcement services.”
While troubling, the rise in the overall homeless population was expected in the current economic climate and shelters statewide have stepped up to meet the demands.
“Thankfully, our community implemented its efforts to house people experiencing chronic homelessness not a moment too soon. This created capacity in our shelters just in time for the surge in homelessness that many of our cities have experienced over the past two years,” said Matthew Minkevitch, Executive Director of The Road Home. “Fortunately, the permanent housing we created has helped to free up capacity at our shelters in time to serve the increasing number of men, women, and families with children who have come to us in their time of need. As we continue to develop better housing alternatives for all Utahns, we will be able to reduce overall homelessness statewide.”
The Point in Time count is required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as part of an effort to collect data on the homeless and their use of services.
In 2004, Utah embraced a nationwide movement and developed and is implementing the State’s strategy “HousingWorks” to end chronic homelessness within 10-years. Under this model, chronically homeless citizens go from the streets or homeless shelters, into their own apartments. The model also provides job training and other supports to help tenants re-integrate with society. The housing is permanent and “affordable,” meaning, tenants pay 30 percent of their income for rent. For more information, please visit http://www.housingworks.utah.gov.
Utah’s Homeless Task Force and Ten-Year Homeless Action Plan is managed by the Division of Housing and Community Development under the Utah Department of Community and Culture.