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Scott G Winterton, Deseret News, File

Road Home owner plans for larger role in overseeing service providers

By Ben Lockhart  |  Posted Mar 20th, 2017 @ 9:49pm


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SALT LAKE CITY — The organization that owns The Road Home shelter and other facilities for the homeless is looking at taking on a more active role in establishing performance goals for service providers.

Board members of Shelter the Homeless Inc., a private nonprofit organization that owns both Road Home locations and the Palmer Court permanent supportive housing development, indicated at a meeting Monday that they want a more robust role in holding providers publicly responsible for their stated goals at the three new homeless service centers expected to be built in Salt Lake County.

"This group is intended to be a high-level oversight ... of the homeless service system," said Janell Fluckiger, newly installed executive director of Shelter the Homeless. "We'll be asked to be looking at specific outcomes we need to see and sort of publicly reporting those."

That reporting will consist of detailing outcomes at the new facilities as compared to the objectives outlined by city, county and state leaders, as well as private organizations, Fluckiger said.

"How are we doing on diversion rates?" she said, citing an example of an issue the nonprofit will examine. "How are we doing on shortening length of stay?"

The organization chooses and oversees the service providers at its facilities. Shelter the Homeless itself does not directly provide homeless services, and doesn't have plan to do so, Fluckiger reiterated.

Salt Lake County officials have previously talked about a desire to see the board expand its reach. County Mayor Ben McAdams and Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski are recent additions to the board, which also includes officials from the state, United Way of Salt Lake, LDS Church Humanitarian Services and other groups.

A portion of Monday's meeting was closed to reporters while the board discussed personnel matters and new bylaws. No new board members were added to the nonprofit Monday, Fluckiger confirmed.

Shelter the Homeless will also continue to fulfill its role of holding the homeless services sites in trust, said Harris Simmons, chairman of the nonprofit's board and president and CEO of Zions Bancorp.

Simmons said a "fundamental" function of the organization has been to annually review the performance of service providers. But he said the new facilities are expected to be run by "not only a single provider, but multiple providers (dealing with) food, shelter and medical," an important change from working exclusively with The Road Home at all three of the facilities it currently holds in trust.

"You could have multiple providers vying for contracts, so I think it does become a little bit more complex. ... This new model requires a little more coordination," Simmons said.

Simmons said Monday that Shelter the Homeless must be careful not to overstep its bounds, even with an expanded oversight role.

"One of the things we're going to have to become careful about in this organization is that it doesn't become a micromanager of service providers," he told the board.

Ben Lockhart
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